WHAT IS A SICKLE CELL ANEMIA SCREEN?
The Sickle Cell Anemia Screen consists of the following tests to identify the presence of Hemoglobin S:
- Hemoglobin S solubility test
- Sodium Metabisulfite test
AM I REQUIRED TO FAST FOR THIS LAB TEST?
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF A SICKLE CELL SCREEN?
*Price may vary by location – contact your local ANY LAB TEST NOW®
People with sickle cell disease (or anemia) have an abnormal form of blood cell (Hemoglobin S) which causes the red blood cells to be curved into crescent or “sickle” shape and not the normal, round shape. Round blood cells pass through blood vessels easily, carrying oxygen throughout your body. Sickle shaped blood cells can get stuck, block blood vessels and prevent oxygen from getting through. Symptoms of sickle cell disease are very painful and can cause long term damage to organs, muscles and bones. Painful episodes due to blocked blood vessels can cause pain in the hands, feet, belly, back or chest. Sickle cell disease may also cause numerous infections and anemia leading to weakness and fatigue.
Sickle cell disease is inherited and it is estimated that 1 in every 500 African-Americans has sickle cell disease. People whose ancestors were from Africa, India, the Middle East, the Mediterranean (Turkey, Italy or Greece) and some Latin American countries are more likely to inherit the disease. Those who carry only one sickle cell gene do not usually have symptoms, but are carriers and have a 50% chance of passing the trait on to a baby. If both parents have the sickle cell gene, each child they have has a one in four chance of receiving two sickle cell genes and having sickle cell disease.
Even those with only one sickle cell gene, called sickle cell trait, can sometimes have symptoms such as muscle pain or other serious issues if they exercise strenuously or become overheated. Some college athletic programs test student athletes for sickle cell trait if the test wasn’t done at birth or the results are unknown. Coaches and doctors can work with athletes to prevent complications for competitive athletes.
WHY DO I NEED TO BE SCREENED FOR SICKLE CELL ANEMIA?
Are you considering having children and know that someone in your family has sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease? Are you a competitive athlete?
Infants, especially in the African-American community, are required to be tested in the hospital for sickle cell disease in all 50 states in the US. This allows physicians to treat babies and children who have the disease with daily antibiotics from 2 months to 5 years of age to prevent infections
Adults who are concerned, perhaps because a family member has sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease, may carry the gene and want to be tested to determine the risk to their children of inheriting the disease. Competitive athletes may consider testing so that they can take necessary precautions to prevent complications and to allow coaches and doctors to monitor their health if they carry the sickle cell trait. Some people may inherit the sickle cell trait along with another defective hemoglobin gene that can cause other sickle cell disorders with similar symptoms.
A normal result would show no Hemoglobin S in the blood.
HIGH RESULTS INDICATE:
A positive result would indicate either sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease.
LOW RESULTS INDICATE:
There are no low results.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCTOR SHOULD I SEE IF MY TEST RESULTS ARE POSITIVE?
You should see your primary care physician for further screening tests to determine the types and amounts of different types of hemoglobin in the blood for a definitive diagnosis.
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