Sickle cell anemia is an inherited red blood cell disorder in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Usually, the flexible, round red blood cells move easily through blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood are shaped like sickles or crescent moons. These rigid, sticky cells can get stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow or block blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.
A blood test can check for the defective form of hemoglobin that underlies sickle cell anemia. Also using a special ultrasound machine, doctors can learn which children have a higher risk of stroke. The painless test, which uses sound waves to measure blood flow, can be used to diagnose Sickle cell anemia in children as young as two years.
Treatments for the disease might include medications and blood transfusions. For some children and teenagers, a stem cell transplant might prove effective.