1. What are the signs of sickle cell anemia?
The signs and symptoms of sickle cell anaemia are: lower haemoglobin levels, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and headache. If you have sickle cell disease, you may also have symptoms such as frequent infections and intense pain in the body parts along with the anaemia symptoms.
2. How is the condition diagnosed?
The diagnosis of the sickle cell anaemia is done by carrying out a blood test. The test is known as haemoglobin electrophoresis in which the pathologist determines the type of haemoglobin. If you have sickle cell anaemia, then the haemoglobin appears sickle-shaped (like the letter C) in the examination. Diagnostic tests to find out the presence of genes for sickle cell anaemia are also available.
3. What causes sickle cell anemia?
It is an inherited disease. You may carry the genes which are responsible for the sickle cell anaemia. You might inherit the genes for sickle cell anaemia if both your parents have the genes. Sickle cell anaemia is one of the conditions in sickle cell disease. Sometimes you may only be a carrier of the genes and not have any symptoms.
4. Can iron supplements help in sickle cell anemia?
Iron supplements are not recommended for the treatment in sickle cell anaemia. If case of sickle cell anaemia, there can be organ damage due to excess iron in the body. Hence, iron therapy is not useful in managing sickle cell anaemia.
5. Can changes in diet help to manage sickle cell anemia?
You can make certain dietary changes to manage sickle cell anaemia: eat a balanced diet to have good health; include meat, fish, vegetables and fruits in a proper amount; include zinc, magnesium and folic or take supplements; high protein diet can also give more energy; drink plenty of water; and avoid fasting.