Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder. It changes the shape of red blood cells. These cells stick together and get trapped in small blood vessels. This blocks blood flow and can lead to pain. This is called sickle cell pain crisis.
Sickle cell pain crisis may be treated with home care, medicines, or blood transfusions.
To reduce discomfort:
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Try eating small, frequent meals instead of 3 large ones. Talk to a dietitian for help with meal planning.
Return to activities as you are able. Do not do strenuous activity until your doctor says it is okay. In general:
Your doctor may advise:
Take all the antibiotics you are given. Do this even when you are feeling well.
When taking medicine:
This condition can make it easier for you to get sick. To reduce this risk:
Your doctor will check on your progress. Sickle cell needs to be monitored. Be sure to go to any advised appointments.
Call your doctor if you are having problems managing SCD or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Sickle Cell Anemia Association
Sickle Cell Information Center
Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada
Sickle Cell Association of Ontario
Patient education: teaching the patient with sickle cell disease. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. February 26, 2021.
Sickle cell disease in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sickle-cell-disease-in-adults-and-adolescents. Accessed February 26, 2021.
What is sickle cell disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/facts.html. Accessed February 26, 2021
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD Last Updated: 2/26/2021