Sickle Cell Anemia in Children Symptoms and Treatment
Because SCD is an inherited disease, the first signs of sickle cell anemia in children tend to manifest early on. In fact, recently released sickle cell anemia facts show that children with the disease had a much higher mortality rate 25 years ago when compared to today. Generally, the signs of sickle cell anemia in children are the same as those seen in adults. However, there are some notable differences that only kids may feel.
When a child first experiences sickle cell anemia symptoms, he or she may not grow at the same rate as peers. This includes delayed puberty, particularly late menstruation in girls. Chronic pain affects all SCD patients. Both kids and adults are more susceptible to blood infections, infections from minor cuts, burns and abrasions, and bacterial infections. As SCD sufferers usually have an impaired immune system, sickle cell anemia treatment is the best line of defense against these symptoms.
Spleen disorders are also common complications from sickle cell anemia in children. The spleen itself may grow as large as double in size, leading to pain, red blood cell issues and abnormalities. Children with SCD can experience pain in their joints, issues with the heart, lungs and other major organs and pulmonary hypertension.
Because these symptoms are very severe, children are almost always diagnosed with SCD soon after the signs are reported to their doctors. A natural iron supplement may be prescribed until the physician is able to get a full blood report back from the lab, but generally, a trained doctor will know when sickle cell is at the root of the problem.
One of the most commonly prescribed medicines prescribed to treat kids with SCD is hydroxyurea. When more fetal hemoglobin is naturally produced, the body has less of a chance to manufacture faulty red blood cells. Blood transfusions can also be used to help filter out sickled cells and introduce healthy red blood cells to the body. Other treatments for sickle cell anemia in children are usually geared toward lessening the side effects. For patients losing their vision, glasses may be prescribed, and high blood pressure may be given to those with hypertension.