Sickle Cell Anemia Treatments and Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
As one of the most misunderstood diseases, a sickle cell anemia (SCA) diagnosis is not what it once was. September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, designated by Congress to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease. By combining innovative sickle cell anemia treatments with a healthy lifestyle, many patients lead a fairly normal life. Below, our experts share treatments and tips on living a healthy lifestyle with sickle cell anemia.
Positive lifestyle tips for sickle cell anemia patients
If you are diagnosed with sickle cell, utilize these healthy lifestyle tips to help you maintain your daily routine:
- Choose healthy foods. Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, will help maintain proper nutrient levels.
- Take folic acid supplements. Folic acid will help to produce new red blood cells.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can result in a sickle cell crisis.
- Avoid temperature extremes. Exposure to extreme cold or heat can increase your risk of a sickle cell crisis.
- Avoid smoking.
- Exercise regularly and focus on your strength training exercises. You can also incorporate regular Tai Chi and Yoga routines as a result of their strengthening and toning benefits. Talk to your doctor before starting a workout program to ensure you are not overdoing it.
- Cut down on inflammatory foods such as salt and sugar.
- Limit stress and maintain your routine of rest and relaxation.
Know your body’s signs and symptoms
Sickle cell anemia has many signs and symptoms that vary from patient to patient and may even change over time. Some symptoms of SCA include:
- Pain episodes: These are often referred to as a sickle cell crisis and are one of the main symptoms of SCA. The intensity of the pain can vary and may last a few hours to a few weeks.
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Vision problems: Vision problems can be caused by sickle cells that can damage the retina.
- Delayed growth: A lack of healthy red blood cells can cause stunted growth in infants and delayed puberty in teenagers.
Sickle cell anemia treatments
Many sickle cell anemia patients know all too well how important it is to continue taking their medication. Some sickle cell anemia treatments include:
- Hydroxyurea: Taken in a daily dose. Helps to reduce pain. It also reduces the need for blood transfusions.
- L-glutamine oral powder: Also reduces pain and the frequency of pain cycles.
- Crizanlizumab: A powerful pain reliever. Given through intravenous methods.
- Blood transfusions: Some SCA patients may require blood transfusions. These transfusions are performed intravenously to supply SCA patients with additional red blood cells to help reduce symptoms and complications.
As a sickle cell patient, you’re not the only one that deals with the difficulties of living with this condition. There is a whole network of people that are just like you living with sickle cell.
Luckily there are plenty of organizations that can provide support and help you sort out the ups and downs of living with this condition. There are people online who’ve already been through what you’re currently going through and can lend their voice to help you.
Sickle cell anemia treatments in Raleigh, Wake Forest and the Triangle
With ongoing studies into the very molecular structure of sickle cell diseases, groundbreaking techniques will soon be at the forefront of battling sickle cell anemia. If you are looking for sickle cell anemia treatments in the Triangle area, Personalized Hematology-Oncology provides comprehensive hematology and oncology consultation for all types of blood disorders, including sickle cell disease. Contact us to learn more about our experience with hematology conditions.