Sickle cell anemia is typically identified through genetic screening done when a baby is born. Those test results will likely be given to your family doctor or pediatrician.
Getting ready for your consultation
As soon as sickle cell anemia is identified, you’ll likely be described a doctor who concentrates on blood conditions (hematologist) or a pediatric hematologist.
Due to the fact that visits can be short, and there’s frequently a great deal of ground to cover, it’s a great idea to be well-prepared. Here’s some info to help you prepare, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Jot down any symptoms you’ve observed, including any that might appear unassociated to the factor for which you arranged the visit.
- Bring a member of the family or friend along. In some cases it can be challenging to bear in mind all the info provided during a consultation. Somebody who accompanies you may keep in mind something that you missed out on or forgot.
- Document questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you take advantage of your time together. For sickle cell anemia, some standard concerns to ask your doctor include:
- What’s the most likely cause of my child’s symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What sort of tests are required?
- What treatments are readily available and which do you suggest?
- What types of side effects are common with these treatments?
- Are there any alternatives to the main technique that you’re recommending?
- What’s my child’s prognosis?
- Exist any dietary or experience limitations?
- Are there any pamphlets or other printed material that I can take with me? What sites do you suggest?
In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared, do not hesitate to ask extra questions during your visit.
What to get out of your doctor
Your doctor is most likely to ask you a number of questions. Being all set to answer them might schedule time to go over points you want to invest more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first discover these symptoms?
- Have they been continuous or occasional?
- Does anything seem to enhance these symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to aggravate the symptoms?
- Does anyone in your family have sickle cell anemia?
- Have you ever been informed you have a trait for sickle cell anemia?
How is Sickle Cell Anemia Detected
A blood test can look for hemoglobin S– the faulty form of hemoglobin that underlies sickle cell anemia. In the United States, this blood test is part of regular newborn screening done at the medical facility. However older children and adults can be checked, too.
In adults, a blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm. In little ones and babies, the blood sample is usually gathered from a finger or heel. The sample is then sent out to a laboratory, where it’s evaluated for hemoglobin S.
If the screening test is unfavorable, there is no sickle cell gene present. If the screening test is favorable, further tests will be done to figure out whether one or two sickle cell genes are present. People who have one gene– sickle cell characteristic– have a fairly small portion of hemoglobin S. People with two genes– sickle cell anemia– have a much bigger portion of the defective hemoglobin.
Additional Tests for Sickle Cell Anemia
To validate any diagnosis, a sample of blood is examined under a microscopic lense to check for great deals of sickle cells– a marker of the disease. If you or your child has the disease, a blood test to check for anemia– a low red cell count– will be done. And your doctor may recommend extra tests to check for possible complications of the disease.
If you or your child carries the sickle cell gene, you might be described a hereditary counselor– a professional in hereditary diseases.
Tests to Find Sickle Cell Genes Prior to Birth
Sickle cell disease can be detected in a coming baby by tasting a few of the fluid surrounding the baby in the mom’s womb (amniotic fluid) to try to find the sickle cell gene. If you or your partner has actually been detected with sickle cell anemia or sickle cell quality, ask your doctor about whether you need to consider this screening. Request a referral to a hereditary therapist who can help you understand the risk to your baby.