Sickle cell anemia is usually diagnosed through genetic screening done when a baby is born. Those test results will likely be given to your family doctor or pediatrician. He or she will likely refer you to a doctor who specializes in blood disorders (hematologist) or a pediatric hematologist.
Here's information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
Make a list of:
- Symptoms you've noticed, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment
- Key personal information, including family medical history and whether anyone has sickle cell anemia or has a trait for it
- Questions to ask your doctor
Bring a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.
For sickle cell anemia, questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my child's symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What tests are needed?
- What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
- What side effects are common with these treatments?
- Are there alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- What's my child's prognosis?
- Are there dietary or activity restrictions?
- Do you have brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:
- When did you notice your child's symptoms?
- Have they been continuous or occasional?
- What, if anything, seems to improve symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to worsen them?
Dec. 29, 2016
- Vichinsky EP. Overview of the clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
- Sickle cell disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sca/. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
- Field JJ , et al. Overview of the management and prognosis of sickle cell disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
- Iughetti L, et al. Novel insights in the management of sickle cell disease in childhood. World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics. 2016;5:25.
- Living well with sickle cell disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/healthyliving-living-well.html. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
- Estcourt LJ, et al. Red blood cell transfusion to treat or prevent complications in sickle cell disease: An overview of Cochrane reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD012082/full. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
- Rodgers GP. Hydroxyurea and other disease-modifying therapies in sickle cell disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 6, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Sickle cell disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.