The effects of the disease

Sickle cell anemia is a chronic disease with very painful crises that occur repeatedly throughout the life of sufferers. This pain is a symptom that haunts sickle cell disease patients , their parents and carers.

Susceptibility to infection

The most common sign of infection is fever and it should not be taken lightly.

Pneumonia develops hundred times more frequently in children with sickle cell disease than in the general population . Respiratory infections , intestinal and other infectious diseases are due to an inability of the spleen to remove bacteria.


Due to the rapid destruction of red blood cells of sickle cell disease, large amounts of hemoglobin are released into the system. When symptoms are attributable to the Mayors calculations , surgery is needed to remove the gallbladder.

Delay of growth and puberty

On average, puberty in children with sickle disease is delayed by about two years compared with healthy children.


When a stroke occurs, should be administered red blood cell transfusions every month to reduce the risk of a second stroke which could be fatal.

Problem of hip and knee

Poor blood circulation in the hip region can cause death of part of the bone. It is the same for the knee and it requires surgery to solidify.

Susceptibility to dehydration

Sickle disease can cause kidney tissues. The kidneys of people with sickle cell disease do not accumulate and retain water effectively. Dehydration triggers seizures and increases the viscosity of the blood.

Hypoxemia, or lack of oxygen

The hypoxemia occurs in the following situations:

  • Altitudes higher than 1 500m
  • Inefficient or lack of pressurization in an airplane
  • Vigorous physical effort
  • Standing in one place for a long period of time
  • Coldness
  • Physical and psychological stress
  • Tight clothing
  • Sitting crossed-legged
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • and more…

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the success of some children with sickle cell disease is that it may miss more than 50 days of the school year , because of the care requirements to relieve symptoms.


The need for food hygiene is needed for children with sickle cell disease because dietary deficiencies aggravate anemia and decreased resistance to infection . Additional supplementation with folate and such protein is needed and parents should be informed of the food groups that contain these elements. Attention to iron overload in patients prone to blood transfusions !

Resistance to Malaria

Sickle cell anemia is often mentioned as an example of positive mutation since the anemia gene has a certain resistance to malaria. According to a scientific study in Portugal1 only the carriers of the sickle cell gene have a relative protection against malaria. Everybody travelling to destinations where malaria is common must protect themselves against it.

In addition, the University of Florence in Italy writes in MJHID “From the point of view of public health it is important that in malaria-endemic countries patients with SCA, and particularly children, be protected from malaria by appropriate prophylaxis2.”


The generosity of the partners plays a key role in the development and growth of the Sickle Cell Anemia Association of Quebec. Their support is invaluable. We thank them from the heart.