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Sickle Cell Disease


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Sickle cell disease (sickle cell anemia) occurs when red blood cells are abnormally shaped like a sickle (crescent moon) instead of round. These abnormal red blood cells can cause blood clotting and reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to your cells. Pain crisis episodes are the most common complication of sickle cell disease. Sometimes, the pain can be managed at home with pills. But if the pain is very severe, you will need to go to the Emergency Department and hospital for more intensive pain control.

Sickle cell disease is inherited. Though it doesn’t have a cure, University of Miami Health System hematologists provide comprehensive, long-term treatment that can help you manage your condition.


Blood Tests
Your doctor will take samples of your blood. A range of tests will identify if you have sickle cell disease or a related blood disease which can behave like sickle cell disease.

Genetic Tests
If sickle cell anemia runs in your family, you may need genetic testing or preconception counseling. Genetic tests can help you understand your risk for passing the condition on to your children.

During amniocentesis, your doctor takes a sample of the fluid around an unborn fetus. This fluid can be run through genetic tests to identify sickle cell disease.


Pain Medicines
Sickle cell anemia can cause pain. Your doctor may provide pain medicines to help relive pain. This is often done as an outpatient, but sometimes requires stay in the hospital.

Children younger than 5-years-old may take antibiotics to help prevent life-threatening infections.

Infectious diseases can be life-threatening for people with sickle cell anemia. It is important you stay up-to-date on all your immunizations.

Blood Transfusions
Blood transfusions can help you get healthy red blood cells through donor blood. These transfusions can help prevent symptoms of sickle cell anemia.

Bone Marrow Transplant
A bone marrow transplant can help the bone marrow make more normal, healthy red blood cells. This treatment has many risks and benefits you should discuss with your doctor.

Why Choose UHealth?

Advanced, comprehensive hematology care. Our large team of expert hematologists provide the care you need to manage blood disorders and treat blood cancers. We offer convenient care — with treatment available at multiple locations — and use innovative, personalized treatments to help improve your health and quality of life.

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