LIVING WITH SICKLE CELL ANEMIA
In the early 1970’s, 14-years-old was the average lifespan of a person with sickle cell disease. Thanks to the efforts of many scientists, researchers, and doctors, people with sickle cell anemia are living significantly longer and more productive lives than ever before. With a healthy diet and lifestyle, knowledge about factors that cause crises, and sufficient coping mechanisms, many sickle cell patients can reduce or prevent many of the complications of sickle cell disease.
Pain crisis or episodes remain one of the most common complications of sickle cell disease. The severity and type of pain varies from person to person. Other complications can include stroke, acute chest syndrome, and infection.
Learn everything that you can about the disease to help you recognize early symptoms, seek early treatment, and cope with the pain. Your physician may be able to recommend treatments to help you manage your condition and reduce your symptoms. They may also be able to suggest vitamin supplements and help you assess your medications and treatment of other medical conditions. Also, be aware of your environment, such as the weather and altitude, as well as your physical activity, as they can impact your symptoms. Be sure to drink proper fluids and get plenty of sleep and rest. Living with sickle cell can be stressful; consider contacting a local support group to help you deal with the stress of living with the disease.