When is anemia present in sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Anemia is universally present. It is chronic and hemolytic in nature and usually very well tolerated. While patients with an Hb level of 6-7 g/dL who are able to participate in the activities of daily life in a normal fashion are not uncommon, their tolerance for exercise and exertion tends to be very limited.

Anemia may be complicated with megaloblastic changes secondary to folate deficiency. These result from increased RBC turnover and folate utilization. Periodic bouts of hyperhemolysis may occur.


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