1. What are the signs of sickle cell anemia?
Sickle cell anemia can be distinguished by the following signs and symptoms:
- Anaemia or pain
- Fatigue or irritability
- Frequent infections or jaundice
- Swelling of hands
- Growth retardation
2. How is the condition diagnosed?
The following methods are used in the diagnosis of sickle cell anemia:
- A thorough assessment of medical history
- Physical examination
- Blood tests – sickle solubility tests, blood films
- Haemoglobin electrophoresis
3. What causes sickle cell anemia?
Genetics play a considerable role in the development of sickle cell anemia. This condition is caused by the mutation in the gene responsible for the formation of red blood cells. The primary risk factor is the family history of the disease.
4. Can iron supplements help in sickle cell anemia?
Iron supplements cannot help in sickle cell anemia as the condition is not due to iron deficiency, but by a lack of red blood cells in the body. In fact, iron supplements can lead to iron overload, thereby damaging the different organs in the body
5. Can changes in diet help to manage sickle cell anemia?
A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates can help in the management of sickle cell anemia. Diet should consist of plenty of fruits, green leafy vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and whole grains. The diet helps in building immunity and preventing infections.