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What Health Problems Do Sickle Cell Disease Cause?

SCFA_Coach October 13, 2023

What Health Problems Does Sickle Cell Disease Cause?

The following are some of the most common complications of SCD:

Pain Episodes or Crises—Sickle cells don’t move easily through small blood vessels and can get stuck and clog blood flow. This causes pain that can start suddenly, be mild to severe, and last for any length of time.

Infection—People with SCD, especially infants and children, are more likely to experience harmful infections such as influenza, meningitis (infection of the brain or spinal cord), and hepatitis (infection of the liver).

Hand–Foot Syndrome—Swelling in the hands and feet, often along with a fever, is caused by the sickle cells getting stuck in the blood vessels and blocking the blood from flowing freely through the hands and feet.

Eye Disease—SCD can affect the blood vessels in the eye and lead to long-term damage.

Acute Chest Syndrome—Blockage of the flow of blood to the lungs can cause acute chest syndrome (ACS). ACS is similar to pneumonia; symptoms include but are not limited to chest pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, and fever. It can be life threatening and should be treated in a hospital.

Stroke—Sickle cells can clog blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. A stroke can result in lifelong disabilities and learning problems.