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Sickle Cell Anemia Test

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About Our Sickle Cell Anemia Test

Note: Fasting is not required for this test.

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited genetic disorder that affects the blood’s ability to carry sufficient oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin is a protein that helps bind oxygen to red blood cells and carry it throughout the body. In individuals with sickle cell anemia, their bodies produce an abnormal type of hemoglobin (called hemoglobin S or Hb-S) that causes red blood cells to become misshapen and stiff. This affects their ability to carry oxygen and leads to an overall decrease of available oxygen in the body. Abnormally shaped red blood cells can not easily flow through blood vessels. They may get stuck and block the flow of blood, causing pain and damage to certain organs. 

For an individual to develop sickle cell anemia, he/she must inherit the gene from both parents. Children who only inherit one gene for sickle cell anemia will not develop sickle cell anemia, but they may pass the abnormal gene on to their children.  

What to Expect From a Sickle Cell Anemia Test

Fasting is not required for this test.

This sickle cell anemia blood test determines the presence of and the amount of hemoglobin S (Hb-S), the defective hemoglobin that causes sickle cell anemia, in the blood.

A sickle cell anemia test requires a blood draw from the arm. After placing your order on our website, use our lab locator to find a location near you. Feel free to walk in—appointments are not required. You’ll need to show your lab requisition form in order to get a blood sample taken. The results will arrive confidentially to your HealthLabs.com account.

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia

Symptoms of sickle cell anemia can change over time and may be different for each person, but typically include:

  • Anemia
  • Chronic pain
  • Acute episodes of extreme pain called “crises”
  • Swelling of the hands and feet that at times can be very painful
  • Frequent infections
  • Delayed growth in infants, children, and teenagers
  • Damage to the retina that causes vision problems

Who Should Get Tested For Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is usually diagnosed at birth during a routine newborn screening at the hospital. However, these tests weren’t always protocol and therefore some people may have never been tested. Individuals who may want to consider sickle cell anemia testing are those who have:

  • Family history or a child with sickle cell anemia
  • Children and adults who were not tested at birth
  • Signs and symptoms of anemia
  • Pale skin or pale nail beds
  • Yellow tint of the whites of the eyes or the skin
  • Unexplained bouts of severe pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Signs or symptoms of stroke

Diagnosis & Treatment of Sickle Cell Anemia

There is currently no cure for sickle cell anemia. Treatment consists of pain relief, treating infections, and preventing further health complications. Treatment for sickle cell anemia is determined by various factors, such as:

  • Access to healthcare
  • A high white blood cell count without infection
  • A hemoglobin level less than 7 grams per liter of blood

Sources:

  1. “Sickle Cell Anemia.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sickle-cell-anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355876
  2. “Sickle Cell Test.” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/sickle-cell-test
  3. “How Sickle Cell Anemia Affects Life Expectancy.” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/sickle-cell-prognosis
  4. “Get Screened to Know Your Sickle Cell Status.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/documents/Factsheet_ScickleCell_Status.pdf
  5. “Sickle Cell Disease.” Genetics Home Reference. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/sickle-cell-disease


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