- Tenderness and pain in various locations (joint pain, back pain, abdominal pain)
- Chills and shivering
- Hives and itching
- Shortness of breath
You should monitor and discuss your side effects with your healthcare provider.
How to know if you have sickle cell disease
Symptoms of sickle cell anemia typically begin in early childhood and vary from person to person. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends sickle cell testing be conducted in newborn screenings.
Sickle cell disease is inherited, and it is not possible to get sickle cell anemia from environmental factors or contract it from someone with the illness.
The only way to have sickle cell disease is to inherit both sickle cell traits from your parents. Both parents would need to have sickle cell trait (hemoglobin S), the genetic mutation, to give birth to a child with sickle cell disease.
If only one parent has the trait (hemoglobin S) and the other does not, although the child may be born with sickle cell trait, they will not be born with sickle cell disease. With the exception of rare cases, having the sickle cell trait is generally a harmless condition.
A blood test is required to diagnose sickle cell disease and screen for the sickle cell trait. The main symptoms of sickle cell disease include:
- Anemia and fatigue: Due to the average 10-20 days lifespan of sickle-shaped red blood cells, opposed to the usual 120 days for disk-shaped cells, people with sickle cell disease often experience a chronic shortage of red blood cells (anemia). This low red blood count results in constant exhaustion (fatigue).
- Acute pain and swelling: The main symptom of sickle cell anemia is periodic episodes of acute pain called pain crises. The sickle-cell shape is inefficient at flowing through the body. This causes clotting and the cells getting stuck, resulting in inflammation (swelling), organ damage, and chronic pain that can last a couple of hours to over a week.
- Delayed puberty: The low blood count and sickle-cell shape cause low oxygen and nutrient flow throughout the body. For infants and children, this results in slowed growth and development. Whereas in teenagers, it might display as delayed puberty.