ZocdocAnswersHow is sickle cell disease different from regular anemia?

Question

How is sickle cell disease different from regular anemia?

I get cold very easily. Is this anemia or sickle cell anemia? Are the two linked?

Answer

Sickle cell anemia is just one type of anemia. In addition, getting cold easily and anemia are not related. Anemia is a term used to describe a low number or red blood cells in your blood. Red blood cells are those that carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and carbon dioxide from the body to the lungs. The symptoms are anemia are fatigue, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness. Anemia can be caused by lack of iron in your diet, lack of vitamin B12 or folic acid, heavy menstrual bleeding (if you are female), certain genetic diseases (such as sickle cell), and many more causes. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic type of anemia that is almost exclusively in people of African decent. Thus, your chances of having sickle cell are only significant if you are African American. It is a disease where red blood cells change shape and break apart. Thus it causes lower red blood cell count and anemia. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of the symptoms you are having and perform a thorough physical exam. In addition, your doctor can order a complete blood count to see if you are anemic. If you are, then you will need a further workup for that anemia.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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