Sickle Cell Anemia by Ruth Bjorklund

By Ruth Bjorklund

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Extra resources for Sickle Cell Anemia

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Lack of oxygen can damage the retina of the eye. The vessels in the 44 LIVING WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA The spleen (highlighted above), which helps fight infections, becomes enlarged when sickle cells block the flow of blood. 45 Sickle Cell Anemia lungs can become clogged, and this prevents the exchange of oxygen to the red blood cells. When the heart has a difficult time pumping blood through the lungs, the blood pressure increases and the patient experiences chest pain and shortness of breath. Blood vessels leading to the brain can also become blocked, which leads to a stroke.

People should avoid eating too much red meat, fast food, snack foods, soda, and sweets. Many doctors recommend taking vitamin B9, also called folic acid, which helps the body produce red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease also need to balance their amount of exercise and activity. They need to keep their muscles strong and healthy while not overdoing exercise and taxing the body’s resources. Besides taking medicine, there are other ways to manage pain that comes from sickle cell disease.

Family and friends can offer support every day, and it is important to let them know when they can provide help or comfort. Being open and honest with doctors about pain and other symptoms will help assure the best medical 52 LIVING WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA treatment. It is also important to educate teachers, classmates, coworkers, teammates, and coaches about sickle cell disease so that they will understand how to help when necessary. Researchers around the world are hoping to find a cure for sickle cell disease.

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