What Is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is a chronic anemia that is a disorder of the blood that is inherited. It is caused by an abnormal amount of hemoglobin. This is a protein within red blood cells. It  carries oxygen throughout the body.  Sickle cell patients suffer because their bone marrow cannot make red blood cells fast enough to replace old blood cells. In healthy people, their red blood cells are shaped like a disc and look similar to donuts. But, in people with sickle cell anemia, their cells have an abnormal crescent shape which clog their blood vessels. This causes fragile blood cells which causes joint pain and leg pain, tissue damage, and jaundice. This disorder is one of the most inherited blood anemias in the United States.Iit primarily affects African-Americans. It is estimated that 1 out of every 1,875 African-Americans are affected by this condition. In order to be diagnosed with this anemia, both parents must pass it on to their child. However, many patients live productive lives. The following 4 things can help you do so:

Work With Your Doctor

It is very important to remain in regular contact with your doctor. He or she can detect any potential problems in your condition. Your doctor can also keep you updated on the latest treatments available. If you believe that you may be a sickle cell carrier, then you can ask your doctor for a blood test. If you are, you can get a head start on treatment. Regular visits can reduce your risk of flareups, especially in children. If a child is diagnosed with this condition, your doctor can prescribe penicillin at 2-4 months of age. It is essential that you have a yearly physical.

Maintain A Healthy Diet And Nutrition

If your child has this disorder, it is important that you make sure that he or she eats healthy. Balanced meals every day is strongly recommended. Eating a fortified breakfast cereal every morning is essential because they contain folic acid. Folic acid makes new cells and is necessary for the formation of DNA and RNA. Patients often have a folic acid deficiency and should eat foods rich in folic acid, Asparagus, broccoli, beans, and beef liver are excellent sources. If you still feel that you are not getting enough of this vitamin, then you should consider taking a folic acid supplement. Caution: Before you take any vitamin or herbal supplement, you should talk to your doctor first because it could have negative side effects. Your doctor can tell you what dosage is healthy for you. Pantothenic acid(or vitamin B5) is another vitamin that you should make sure that you intake every day. It is one of the few vitamins that can be found in all living cells and most foods. Pantothenic acid helps patients because it helps develop red blood cells and reduces stress. It helps to create hemoglobin and promotes overall good health. Foods such as cereal grains, legumes, eggs, and most meats and vegetables will give you all the pantothenic acid you need daily. It is found in many animals and plants. Milk is an outstanding source of this vitamin. Some research has indicated that taking this acid in combination with folic acid works wonders in helping patients.  You should not really need a pantothenic acid supplement, but if you feel that you do, talk to your doctor first.


Generally speaking, most medical experts suggest that healthy people exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week. However, sickle cell patients should talk to their doctor before starting a exercise routine. You should find out what amount of exercise is right for you. Make sure that you choose activities that you enjoy such as swimming, tennis, jogging, bicycling, or whatever you prefer. It does not have to be boring and you could ask a friend to join you. It is recommended that you drink 6-8 glasses of water every day Sickle cell patients should try to drink 10-12 glasses every day. You should drink juices and eat fruits, especially those high in vitamin C. Exercising regularly will strengthen your cardiovascular and immune system. It reduces fatigue which patients often suffer from.

Get Regular Immunizations

Sickle cell patients are at a greater risk of contracting infections than healthy people. Regular immunizations are very important. Patients are more likely to have a weakened immune system. Immunizations help their bodies fight off viruses and bacterias. Even if you are healthy, you should make sure that your immunizations are current. People with this anemia should take antibiotics because they are at a greater risk of getting pneumonia. This can lead to death.

There is no cure for sickle cell anemia, but doctors have learned a lot about it over the last 50 years. It is a lifetime disease and you have to do everything you can to stay healthy. Today, you have also have treatments such as bone marrow transplants and pain medications that can help you live longer. Consult your doctor regularly so that you can keep up with the latest treatments.  Eat healthy because it will help you have more productive red blood cells. Exercise can reduce fatigue and strengthen your heart. Regular immunizations fight bacterias and viruses. If you do these 4 things, you can live a healthier life with this blood disorder. 

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