Sickle Cell Disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells. Also, when they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection, acute chest syndrome and stroke.
If you or your child has sickle cell disease (SCD), you should learn as much as you can about the disease. Your health care providers are there to help you, and you should feel comfortable asking questions.
Pursue a Healthy Lifestyle
Like all people, you or your child should strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes:
•A nourishing diet
•Regular physical activity
People with SCD often tire easily, so be careful to pace yourself and to avoid very strenuous activities.
Don’t smoke and try to avoid second-hand smoke. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation and drink extra water to avoid dehydration.