Sickle Cell Anemia: Learn All About This Hereditary Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a type of anemia that is passed down from parents to children and that can start to manifest from the four months of the baby. You know everything.

The sickle cell anemia or disease Hb S is a hereditary disease, not contagious disease, where if there is a change in morphology of the red blood cells present in the blood. These are similar to a sickle or format of a half moon, a time that the membrane shows changes, breaking easily.

This leads to a decrease of the binding capacity to oxygen and a possible blockage of the blood vessels due to the change of the shape of red blood cells, leading to ischemia (death) of the body.

Sickle cell anemia is a disease with greater frequency in individuals of black race, caused by inheritance homozygous hemoglobin S (Hb S).


In this type of anemia is often present the following symptoms:

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  • Pain most frequent in the bones and joints, caused by obstruction of small vessels by red blood cells sickle-shaped, causing the oxygen to arrive at least amount to the bodies. The bouts of pain may occur at any time of the year, however they are more frequent in times of cold weather, in the presence of infections, pre-menstrual, emotional problems, pregnancy , or dehydration;
  • Apathy;
  • Tiredness, weakness, and paleness, because of the reduction of oxygen and nutrients in the brain and in the rest of the body;
  • Hands and feet edemaciados (swollen), because the blood has more difficulty in arriving at the ends;
  • Jaundice (the skin and sclerotic yellow), due to the breakdown of red blood cells, which leads to the appearance of a yellow pigment in the blood called bilirubin;
  • Infections, since this type of red blood cells can damage the spleen, it is not filtering the blood adequately and this, in turn, helps to combat infections, not being functional, it allows for the presence of viruses and bacteria;
  • Polaquiúria (increased urinary frequency) and the presence of darker urine;
  • Ulcers on the leg, near the ankles;
  • Delay in growth and puberty.

These symptoms appear, usually after about four months of age.


This type of anemia is detected through a test called electrophoresis of hemoglobin (which checks for the presence of hemoglobin S and its concentration in the blood) or through the test of me.

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The test of the guthrie test Guthrie, or also known as early diagnosis, is a screening test of metabolic diseases, which consists in the collection of a small sample of blood taken via bite at the heel of the baby and should be carried out between the 3rd and 6th day of life.

This test is not of compulsory conduct, but it is a free program that covers all of the newborns, and can have substantial benefits for the baby and for your family when they are detected problems.


After the diagnosis is made, the person should be integrated into a program of integral care, where you will be accompanied for the rest of the life by health care professionals who specialize in the treatment of this disease, where they teach:

  • The family and the patient to quickly find the signs of severity of the disease;
  • To cope with the crisis;
  • Practice measures for their prevention.

The symptoms of this type of anemia can be controlled with the use of drugs that must be taken throughout life to reduce the risk of complications.


  • Penicillin in children from 2 months up to 5 years of age, to avoid the appearance of complications;
  • Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain during a crisis;
  • Hydration intravenous;
  • Supplemental oxygen to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood;
  • Vaccines against bacterial infections;
  • Antibiotics prophylactic;
  • Aggressive treatment of infections with broad-spectrum antibiotics;
  • Use of hydroxyurea and supplement of folate.

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In some severe cases it may be necessary to carry out a blood transfusion, to increase the number of red blood cells in the circulation, however, the healing only happens through a bone marrow transplant.