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?