PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

How does sickle cell disease cause pain?

ANSWER

It’s a disease that turns your red blood cells stiff and sickle-shaped. When those cells get stuck in and block your blood vessels, your organs and tissues don’t get the oxygen they need. That can trigger a sudden pain attack, called a pain crisis.

The pain may feel sharp, stabbing, intense, or throbbing. You commonly get it in your:

A pain crisis can last anywhere from hours to weeks. If it’s severe, you’ll need emergency care. Some people get lots of pain attacks, while others have them once in a while. Most kids are pain-free between attacks. But many teens and adults have long-term pain.

  • Arms
  • Belly
  • Chest
  • Legs
  • Lower back

SOURCES:

National Human Genome Research Institute: “Learning About Sickle Cell Disease.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Sickle Cell Anemia,” “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Sickle Cell Disease?”

Mayo Clinic: “Sickle Cell Anemia.”

American Society of Hematology: “Sickle Cell Anemia.”

CDC: “Complications and Treatments.”

UpToDate: "Bone and Joint Complications in Sickle Cell Disease."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on June 23, 2019

SOURCES:

National Human Genome Research Institute: “Learning About Sickle Cell Disease.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Sickle Cell Anemia,” “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Sickle Cell Disease?”

Mayo Clinic: “Sickle Cell Anemia.”

American Society of Hematology: “Sickle Cell Anemia.”

CDC: “Complications and Treatments.”

UpToDate: "Bone and Joint Complications in Sickle Cell Disease."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on June 23, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What are the most common areas for pain from sickle cell disease?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

"ALEXA, ASK WEBMD"

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

    Other Answers On: