Sickle cell anemia
General Symptoms in Infants. In infants, symptoms do not usually appear until late in the baby's first year. Most commonly, they include:
General Symptoms in Children. Pain is the most common complaint. It can be acute and severe or chronic, usually from orthopedic problems in the legs and low back. Other symptoms include:
Additional Symptoms in Adolescence or Adulthood. Symptoms of childhood continue in adolescence and adulthood. In addition, patients may experience:
The hallmark of sickle cell disease is a group of devastating symptoms known collectively as a sickle cell crisis (also sometimes known as a vaso-occlusive crisis). Sickle cell crises are episodes of pain that occur with varying frequency and severity in different patients and are usually followed by periods of remission. Severe sickle cell pain has been described as being equivalent to cancer pain and more severe than postsurgical pain. It most commonly occurs in the lower back, leg, abdomen, and chest, usually in two or more locations. Episodes usually recur in the same areas.
The risk for a sickle cell crisis is increased by any activity that boosts the body's requirement for oxygen, such as illness, physical stress, or being at high altitudes. In more than half the cases, however, the trigger is unknown. Acute chest syndrome is a particularly serious complication of sickle cell crisis. It occurs in the lungs and can be extremely serious and even life threatening.
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