Preparing for your appointment

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?