What is the blood test for sickle cell anemia?
Welcome, friends! Are you concerned that you or someone you know might have sickle cell anemia? Fear not, because in this article we will be providing all of the information about what to expect from a blood test for sickle cell anemia. Brace yourself, it’s going to be a thrilling ride!
What is Sickle Cell Anemia?
First things first, let’s go over what exactly sickle cell anemia is. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder where red blood cells form into crescent shapes instead of being shaped like discs like they should be. This causes them to get stuck in small blood vessels and can lead to serious health problems such as stroke or organ damage.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details about testing, let’s talk symptoms. Some common symptoms of sickle cell anemia include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Chronic pain
- Shortness of breath
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin)
But enough with all that depressing stuff – let’s move on!
There are several different methods used by doctors to test for sickle cell disease:
Hemoglobin electrophoresis may sound like rocket science – but fear not! It simply involves taking a sample of your blood and running it through electrical currents which then separate out distinct hemoglobins present in your bloodstream.
The process identifies abnormal hemoglobins like HbS (the type responsible for SCD), though other proteins could also turn up as anomalies here which might require further checks.
This method determines whether one or more HB variants’ amounts are within normal range thresholds/stipulations; this supports diagnosis since there need only be one heterozygous mutation causing those low ratios seen via electrophoresis.
DNA is the building blocks that make up your body, and scientists can use them to identify individual traits. If you have a family history of sickle cell anemia or are concerned about being a carrier, this method may be for you.
This test does not check if you currently have SCD but rather finds whether or not there’s an altered structure within relevant portions of the genome indicating predisposition towards developing symptoms later on (if at all).
In cases where either parent has the disease or it’s suspected both carry genes directing development/post-birth/childhood manifestation(s):
- A baby may undergo prenatal testing
- Doctors might evaluate post-birth
We hope that after reading this article, you now know everything about testing for sickle cell anemia—and we mean everything! The tests are straightforward but still vital in determining possible health issues before they become severe.
Please reach out to your healthcare provider with any additional questions or concerns; they will always provide more detailed information catered uniquely around each patient’s situation. With knowledge comes power – so empower yourself through screening!