Successful treatment of
sickle cell disease requires:
- The latest treatment and home care information for families
affected by sickle cell disease.
- A partnership between the family, a doctor experienced in sickle
cell disease treatment, and other health professionals, as needed, to provide
full care for symptoms that involve different body systems.
- Immediate treatment for sudden, serious problems and
When parents learn that their
sickle cell disease, it's the beginning of a lifelong
education process. Knowing as much as possible about the disease can help you
control symptoms as they arise and know what to do in emergency situations.
Initial treatment includes:
Starting at age 2 years, your child should get screened
every now and then with a
This test measures blood flow in the arteries of the head and neck. If test
results show a high chance for
stroke, your child may get
blood transfusions to lower the risk.
Children age 1 to 5 years who have
sickle cell disease often receive daily antibiotics,
such as penicillin, to prevent
life-threatening infections. This practice stops at
age 5 because older children don't have as many severe infections.
Routine lab tests to monitor health include:
Pain is sometimes a chronic problem for people with
sickle cell disease. Your doctor or a
pain treatment specialist can help you develop pain
management skills. These skills include distraction,
guided imagery, deep breathing,
relaxation, and positive self-talk.
can sometimes treat mild pain with
pain medicines while at home. But call your doctor or go to the hospital if
your pain is not controlled.
Severe episodes of prolonged erection
of the penis (priapism) need evaluation by your doctor. Treatment
may include fluids (hydration), pain medicines, treatment by a
urologist, and blood transfusions.
your child with sickle cell disease is at high risk for a stroke, your doctor
may recommend blood transfusions, which may reduce this risk.
Acute chest syndrome may develop after a
painful event or another illness and can be
life-threatening. Early treatment is very important and may include oxygen,
pain medicines, antibiotics, and transfusions.
You may not notice
vision problems until damage has begun. Have your
child's eyes checked when he or she is a newborn and again at all routine
well-child visits. And get
routine eye exams as an adult. Try to go to a doctor who specializes in eye
People with sickle cell
disease should avoid contact with anyone suspected of having
fifth disease, which is caused by parvovirus.
Parvovirus can cause the body to temporarily stop making blood cells, a severe
life-threatening problem in someone with sickle cell disease.
Aplastic anemia can develop as a result of a shortage
of red blood cells. It can come on suddenly and is life-threatening if not