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1. How is the condition diagnosed?
Sickle cell anaemia is diagnosed by a simple blood test to check for the protein haemoglobin S. Additional blood tests for low blood count and other factors may also be done. During pregnancy, an amniotic fluid exam can also help diagnose sickle cell anaemia.
2. Can iron supplements help in sickle cell anemia?
As sickle cell anaemia is an inherited disorder, there is no iron deficiency. Thus, giving iron supplements will not help in improving haemoglobin levels. Instead, folic acid tablets are recommended to stimulate the bone marrow.
3. What are the treatment options for sickle cell anemia?
The treatment options for sickle cell anaemia include blood transfusions, gene therapy and bone marrow transplants. All treatment strategies are aimed at replacing the faulty sickle-shaped red cells with normal ones.
4. Can I become pregnant if I have sickle cell anemia?
Many women with sickle cell disease can have normal pregnancies. However, the chances of sickle cell disease being transferred to the child depend on the father. If both parents have sickle cell disease, then the child will also be born with it.
5. Will my children get it too?
The genetic makeup of the father will decide if your child can get the condition. A child will acquire the sickle cell disease if both parents have it. If the parents only carry the sickle cell gene, there is a 25% chance the child will have sickle cell disease.