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  Oct 11, 2018

Sickle-Cell Disease Symptoms

Although sickle cell disease (SCD) is present from birth, most patients do not begin to show signs of the condition until after the age of 4 to 6 months. For this reason, many countries use a blood test of newborn babies to screen for the presence of the condition and enable earlier interventions.

Initial Signs

In the beginning, affected patients may experience symptoms such as:

  • Dactylitis (swollen, painful hands and feet)
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice, particularly yellowing of skin and eyes

The presenting signs are different in each individual, however, according to the severity of the condition and the internal effects.

Sickle Crisis

Children do not usually experience serious pain but as patients get older, painful episodes called a sickle crisis that can last for a few hours or up to a few days become more common. These crises are characteristic of the condition and involve debilitating pain in various parts of the body such as the lower back, legs, arms, joints and chest.

The crises are thought to occur due to a disruption in blood flow caused by the rigid haemoglobin in the red blood cells. An attack is more likely to occur when the pat