Sickle cell anaemia
There are a number of things you can do, and precautions you need to take,to ensure you stay as healthy as possible if you have sickle cell disease.
See below for information about:
You can reduce your risk of experiencing painful episodes (sickle cell crises) by avoiding things that can trigger them. You should try to:
Your care team can give you more advice about avoiding triggers.
It's also a good idea to ensure you're preparedto treat pain at home. Keep a ready supply of painkillers ( paracetamol or ibuprofen ) and consider buying some heated pads to soothe the pain.
You may also need to take extra food and water precautions .
For example, if you're travelling to an area where malaria is found, it's important to take antimalarial medication .
Women with sickle cell disease can have a healthy pregnancy, but it's a good idea to speak to your care team for advice first because:
If you're not planning a pregnancy, you should use a reliable form of contraception .
It's important to let your care team know if you need to have an operation under general anaesthetic at any point. You should also tell your surgeon that you have sickle cell disease.
This is because general anaesthetic can cause problems for people with sickle cell disease,including anincreased risk of experiencinga sickle cell crisis.
You may needclose monitoring during surgery to ensure you're getting enough fluids and oxygen and are kept warm.
Sometimes you may be need a blood transfusion beforehand to reduce the risk of complications.
It's important to make sure you know when to get medical advice and where to go because sickle cell disease can cause a number of serious problems that can appear suddenly.
Problems to look out for include:
Contact your GP or care teamimmediately if you develop any of the above symptoms. If this isn't possible, go to yournearest accident and emergency (A&E) department .If you aren't well enough to travel to hospital yourself, dial 999for an ambulance.
Make sure thatthe medical staff looking after you are aware that you have sickle cell disease.
Find out about sickle cell disease, a serious inherited blood disorder where the red blood cells develop abnormally. Find out about the symptoms, causes and treatments.
Read about the possible symptoms of sickle cell disease, including painful episodes (crises), infections and anaemia.
Read about what causes sickle cell disease, how it's inherited and how it affects the body.
Read about testing for sickle cell disease, including screening during pregnancy, newborn screening and tests to find out if you're a carrier of the sickle cell trait.
Read about the main treatments for sickle cell disease, including medications to prevent pain, blood transfusions and stem cell transplants.
Read advice about living with sickle cell disease, including how to avoid pain and infections, when to get medical advice and getting pregnant.