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Sickle Cell Disease: A Practical Guide for Teachers

key information

source: AboutKidsHealth

year: 2011

authors: Melanie Kirby-Allen


Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder. It is not contagious. Most children with SCD are of African ancestry, but children of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and South Asian ancestry are also affected.

Signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease

The two main characteristics of SCD are a long-standing anemia and recurrent episodes of vaso-occlusion.

Anemia is a result of increased breakdown of red blood cells. Children may appear pale and have yellow eyes from time to time.

Vaso-occlusive episodes are blockages of the blood vessels anywhere in the body by deformed red blood cells. This causes a lack of oxygen in the affected area of the body. Symptoms depend on where the blood vessels are blocked. If a blood vessel going to the brain is blocked, for example, the child will show symptoms of a stroke, such as weakness of one side of the body. If the blood vessel going to a leg bone is blocked, the child will have pain in the leg.

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