Sickle cell anemia is a serious type of inherited disorder. An individual with sickle cell anemia will manufacture crescent-shaped red blood cells, rather than disc-shaped red blood cells. The abnormally shaped blood cells tend to obstruct the flow of blood, causing a wide range of symptoms and complications. If your child displays some of the potential signs of sickle cell anemia, bring him or her to a children’s hospital promptly. At the children’s hospital, your child’s pediatric specialist will discuss treatment options that can minimize symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Sickle cell anemia involves abnormal hemoglobin in the red blood cells. As a result, your child will feel symptoms related to anemia, such as fatigue. Anemia can also cause dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, and jaundice. You may notice that your child’s skin is paler than usual or your child may report abnormal coldness in the hands and feet.
Sudden, severe pain can cause your child to end up in the pediatric emergency department. Abrupt, systemic pain with sickle cell anemia is referred to as a sickle cell crisis. It happens when the abnormal red blood cells block blood flow, which causes both pain and organ damage. Acute pain with a sickle cell crisis may persist for several hours or perhaps over a week, while chronic pain may persist for months. Sometimes, a sickle cell crisis may be triggered by cold weather, second-hand smoke, dehydration, overexertion, and infections.
Children with sickle cell anemia are at a high risk of certain complications, including life-threatening infections. They may also develop pulmonary hypertension, a condition that involves increased blood pressure in the lungs. Acute chest syndrome is another possibility; it involves symptoms such as chest pain, fever, and shortness of breath.
If you suspect your child could have sickle cell anemia, bring him or her to Sunrise Children’s Hospital of Las Vegas right away. Our children’s emergency department is available for children who experience severe or otherwise urgent symptoms from this disease. You can reach the Consult-A-Nurse referral line for our children’s hospital at (702) 731-5437 to obtain a referral to a pediatric specialist.