Sickle Cell Anemia Symptoms
People with sickle cell anemia may show symptoms of red blood cell deficiency (anemia), body fatigue and lack of energy, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath (especially after physical activity).
Blockage in blood vessels can cause damage to blood vessels so that people with sickle cell anemia can feel unbearable pain. The episode when this pain relapses is called a sickle cell crisis. It is estimated that sickle cell anemia patients may experience this condition up to 14 times a year (although generally 1-2 times), with a duration of 5-7 days.
In children, the emergence of sickle cell crisis episodes can be identified from swelling of the hands and feet. As age grows, pain can spread to other body parts, such as to the abdominal area, breastbone, spine, pelvis, and ribs.
The growth of children with sickle cell anemia is at risk of constriction due to the deficiency of red blood cells that supply the nutrients and oxygen needed by the body. This condition also risks slowing down their puberty in adolescence.
In addition, patients may experience:
- Impaired vision due to damage to the retina as a result of inhibition of blood flow in the eye.
- Easily infected by bacteria or viruses due to damage to the spleen (an organ that works against infection).
- Body looks yellow (jaundice). Occurs due to accumulation of bilirubin substances can occur due to damage to red blood cells rapidly. In addition, high levels of bilirubin can also cause gallstone disease if the pile of these substances crystallize and clog the bile ducts.
- Skin injuries due to blockage in the blood vessels of the skin.
- Prolonged or painful erectile or prolonged pain causing damage to the penis and sterility. Priapism occurs due to blockage of blood flow inside the penis.
If you have children who have sickle cell anemia, keep an eye on them strictly because these conditions have the potential to cause life-threatening complications. Immediately take your child to the hospital when showing signs of increased severity of symptoms, such as:
- Hard to breathe
- Seem confused
- High fever
- Dizziness and stiff neck
- Great headache
- Experiencing priapism for more than two hours (in boys)
- The abdomen was swollen and felt very painful
- Still feel the pain in the sickle cell crisis despite being given painkillers.