Sickle-Cell Anemia News

Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder that causes abnormally shaped red blood cells. Normal blood cells are disk-shaped with an indentation in the center, and they move smoothly through the blood vessels. But with sickle cell anemia, the body produces red blood cells that are shaped like a sickle, or crescent. These cells don’t move through the bloodstream as easily, and they tend to stick and clump together and cause other health complications.

Sickle cell anemia is just one of many forms of sickle cell disease. It is a condition that is passed along from parents to their children. The disease is more common in people of certain ethnicities, including blacks and Hispanics.

Symptoms and Complications

Sickle cell anemia symptoms include headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, jaundice or pale skin and cold hands and feet. Over time, the disease can lead to a number of complications related to blood circulation elsewhere in the body. These include stroke, pain and swelling in the hands and feet, high blood pressure in the lungs and retina damage in the eyes, among many others. Those with sickle cell anemia may also have a greater chance of getting infections, and a harder time getting rid of them.

Treatment of Sickle Cell Anemia

Most cases of sickle cell anemia cannot be cured, but blood and marrow stem cell transplants have been successful at doing so in a small number of people. More research is needed in this area. For most, the goal of treatment is to minimize symptoms and prevent complications. This is often done using a combination of medications that both directly treat the blood as well as the symptoms that a person might be experiencing. Blood transfusions are often used in many cases to prevent serious complications from sickle cell anemia.

SOURCE: U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Sources:What Is Sickle Cell Anemia?, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2013,, Accessed 10/2/13.
Date Posted
Article Title
FDA Approves New Drug for Sickle Cell Disease

Helps reduce painful, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of the inherited blood disorder

Sickle Cell Trait Tied to Higher Kidney Failure Risk for Blacks

Doctors should screen earlier for signs of trouble in people with this gene variant, researcher suggests

Gene Therapy: A Breakthrough for Sickle Cell Anemia?

But treatment has only been given to one patient so far

Student-Athletes Don't Have to Be Hit By Injuries

Equipment safety, emergency training and time for recovery are key to avoiding trouble, experts say

Sickle Cell Trait in Blacks Can Skew Diabetes Test Results

Inaccurate reading may affect diagnosis and treatment of the blood sugar disease, study says

New Drug Might Reduce Sickle Cell Pain Crises

SelG1 cut episodes by 45 percent over a year in early research

Sickle Cell Trait Not Linked to Early Death in Study

However, black soldiers with the gene variant face higher risk of muscle deterioration during exercise

Drug Protects Lung Function in Kids With Sickle Cell: Study

But many patients don't get hydroxyurea because of fears about 'theoretical' cancer risk, experts say

Few Sickle Cell Patients Receiving Beneficial Drug, Study Finds

Medication helps reduce painful episodes

Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment So Successful in Kids That Trial Is Halted

Hydroxyurea pills worked as well as transfusions in reducing stroke risk, researchers report

Scientists Studying Sickle Cell Trait

Condition has killed 9 collegiate football players since 2000, researchers say

New Guidelines for Sickle Cell Disease

Recommendations emphasize use of drug hydroxyurea and transfusion treatments

Blood Transfusions May Cut Risk of 'Silent' Stroke in Kids With Sickle Cell

Study found children who got monthly infusions were less likely to suffer another attack

Less Toxic Transplant Treatment Offers Hope for Sickle Cell Patients

Technique avoids ill effects related to long-term use of anti-rejection drugs, study says

Thousands of Dangerous Erection Cases Seen in ERs Each Year, Study Finds

Researchers say men with sickle cell disease at greater risk for painful condition

Child's Chronic Illness Can Affect the Whole Family

Care demands can create more stress than severity of illness, researchers say

Sickle Cell Drug Reduces Symptoms, Health Costs Alike, Study Finds

More docs should include hydroxyurea in patients' treatment plans, researchers say

Sickle Cell Anemia on Rise in Newborns Worldwide

More than 400,000 cases annually expected by 2050, study shows

Blood Transfusions May Mean Fewer Strokes in Kids With Sickle Cell Disease

Study found the practice, first widely initiated in 1998, is reaping benefits for young patients

Debate Heats Up Over Screening Athletes for Sickle Cell Trait

NCAA mandates such a test, but medical group urges a different option

Gaps in Care Found for Sickle Cell Disease Patients

More effort needed to ease transition to adulthood, researchers say

'Half-Match' Marrow Transplants Help Some With Sickle Cell

Small study suggests potential new option one day in treatment of the blood disease

Being Bullied Tied to Anxiety, Depression in Special-Needs Kids

More than chronic conditions themselves, maltreatment by peers led to mental distress in small study

Sickle Cell Blood Test Might Predict Severity of Disease

Study suggests it could be used to guide treatment for individual patients

Efforts to Reduce Stroke in Kids With Sickle Cell Working: Study

Ultrasound screening, regular blood transfusions have helped reduce strokes in those with the blood disorder

Screening Alone Not Enough to Prevent Sudden Death in College Athletes

Testing of all athletes, not just Division I players, and safe training methods required, researchers say

Adult Sickle Cell Drug May Benefit Kids, Too

It was well-tolerated by children younger than 4, study finds

Sickle Cell Disease Tied to 'Silent Strokes' in Children

Anemia and high blood pressure together or alone increased the risk in study of young patients

Sickle Cell May Be Hidden Danger to Young Athletes

Two young football players have died this year from condition known as exertional sickling

Sickle Cell Kids at Greater Risk of 'Swine Flu' Complications

Findings highlight need to vaccinate against H1N1, seasonal flu, researchers say

Sickle Cell Disease Tied to Cognitive Difficulties

Lowered blood oxygen levels may be to blame, researchers say

Parent Error Common When Medicating Chronically Ill Kids

Even well-educated parents need more help with lifesaving drug regimens, study finds

Sickle Cell Disease Patients Seek Acute Pain Care Repeatedly

Researchers find frequent returns to hospital for treatment, at higher rates than expected

Statins Show Promise Against Sickle Cell

The cholesterol drugs might reduce risk of infection, researchers find

Bone Marrow Transplants May Cure Sickle Cell in Adults

Previously, only children could get transplants because adults were thought to be too sick to handle the procedure

Swine Flu Can Batter Kids With Sickle Cell

Children with the disease should be vaccinated along with other high-risk groups, researchers say

Viagra Trial for Sickle Cell Lung Problems Halted

Safety concern from side effects prompts action by U.S. government

Screening Lowers Stroke Risk for Sickle Cell Kids

But access to the tests is limited for children living far from centers, experts say

Gene Behind Childhood Anemias Found

Finding could usher in new treatments for sickle cell disease and thalassemia

Unique Bone Marrow Transplant Said to Cure Sickle Cell

Technique is safe and effective, say Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh reseachers

Sickle Cell Drug Underused by Physicians

Review of data on hydroxyurea shows it works, but long-term effects are unknown