Can sickle cell patients live a long life?

 


Sickle Cell Disease Patient Longevity is Linked to Good medical Care and Family Support 

Since Sickle cell disease ( SCD) is an inherited, lifelong blood disorder that creates rigid and sickle-shaped red blood cells which stick to blood vessels and block proper blood flow alongside many other complications, SCD patients with limited access to appropriate care may not live a long life.

According to a report published on Blood; the Journal of the American Society of Hematology ( ASH), patients with mildly symptomatic SCD may live a much longer life if they follow proper care and good management of the disease. That can limit complications like severe pain episodes, organ damage and stroke.

 

So people with SCD can live full lives and enjoy almost all activities like everyone else. In this article, I take you through things you can do as SCD patient to help yourself live a much longer and healthier life.

Find Good Medical Care

Remember that SCD is a complex disease and requires good quality medical care from specialist doctors and nurses. With their expertise, they can help you prevent or limit avoidable SCD complications, especially severe ones. Often, the best option is a hematologist ( a specialist of blood disease) that works with a team of other relevant specialists.

Get Regular Checkups

One way to prevent serious problems is to go for regular health checkups with a primary care doctor. Below is some simple information about routine checkups:

 

·       Babies between 0 and 1 year old should be taken to a doctor for a checkup every 2 to 3 months.

·       1 to 2 years old children should be taken to a doctor routinely, at least every 3 months.

·       Children from 2 years of age and adults should visit a doctor at least once per year.

Prevent Infections

 “Prevention is better than cure”, no more no less. Common illnesses such as the flu can become dangerous so quickly for a child with SCD. So your best help to your child or even yourself is to take simple preventive steps against infections. Consult your healthcare provider to help you know the preventive methods that work. Some of them include avoiding smoking, excess alcohol, exhaustion and contact with bacteria or viruses.  

Learn Healthy Habits

Healthy ways of living like drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily and eating healthy food are perfect for people with SCD. Avoid getting too hot, too cold, or too exhausted.

Make sure you or your SCD child takes only part in measured physical activity as per a doctor’s recommendation to help them stay healthy and live a long life. Besides, watch out against over-exercising by resting when tired and always drink lots of water.

Look for clinical studies

The world of medical science keeps conducting new clinical research studies that you can always tap into to find better treatments or even a cure someday. Note that people who participate in these research studies might have access to new medications and treatment options to help SCD patients live a long life.

Take away points

As an SCD patient, living a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy foods, having good quality medical care and getting regular checkups are essential contributors to your longevity.

Get support

Join a community-based organization or patient support group to get the helpful information, assistance, and support you need.