What are the effects of sickle cell disease (SCD) on growth and maturation?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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During childhood and adolescence, SCD is associated with growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, and being underweight. Rhodes et al demonstrated that growth delays during puberty in adolescents with SCD is independently associated with decreased Hb concentration and increased total energy expenditure. [32]

Rhodes et al found that children with SCD progressed more slowly through puberty than healthy control children. Affected pubertal males were shorter and had significantly slower height growth than their unaffected counterparts, with a decline in height over time; however, their annual weight increases did not differ. In addition, the mean fat free mass increments in affected males and females were significantly less than those of the control children. [32]

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