Miscellaneous Questions

If a man is B+ blood group, what is the likely sickle cell group that he will belong to?


There is no relationship between blood groups and sickle cell disease.  Both blood groups and sickle cell disease are inherited from your parents, but they are completely separate.  People with sickle cell disease have all types of blood groups, some are the most common types of blood groups and some are very rare.  It does not matter what their sickle cell type is.



Can sickle cell disease patients donate blood?


No, if you have sickle cell disease you cannot donate blood.  The donated blood could not be filtered as it would “sickle” in the blood filter and would not be able to be used.


If you have sickle cell trait you can donate blood.  Not all blood recipients can accept sickle cell trait blood.  Most sickle cell centers would not transfuse sickle cell trait blood to a sickle cell disease recipient as you would not be able to know whether you had decreased the percent hemoglobin S to the desired percent.  However, there are cases where some patients have such rare blood requirements that sickle cell trait blood could be for these recipients.  Other recipients might not be candidates to receive sickle cell trait blood, in many nurseries premature babies would be one of these groups.


Only sickle cell trait (AS) can be identified with sickle testing before transfusion.  Other hemoglobin trait blood cannot easily be identified (AC, AD, AE) and these donations would be given to a sickle cell disease recipient with the result that the hemoglobin C, D, or E could be identified in the blood of the recipient went it was tested for the amount of hemoglobin S at the end of the transfusion.  Generally this does not affect the status of the recipient, it is an incidental finding.



I have sickle cell disease, but I don't usually have crises and I have never had a blood transfusion before, does that mean I have outgrown the disease?


You cannot “outgrow” sickle cell disease.  If you really have sickle cell disease it can be determined with genetic testing or hemoglobin electrophoresis.  I have seen people who think they have sickle cell disease who don’t (mistake in the testing) and those who are sure they don’t have sickle cell trait who do (mistake in testing).  Find a good hematologist and have testing done to see whether you have sickle cell disease and what type it is.  There are several types of sickle cell disease, they are not all the same.  There are factors that affect sickle cell disease: alpha thalassemia trait, hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin, beta thalassemia trait.



Why do people (especially adults) with sickle cell look younger than their peers?


I have always thought that children with sickle cell disease were much more cute than other children, not sure if there is an association.  I am not sure why people with sickle cell disease might appear younger than their age.  Some people with sickle cell disease have a delay in the onset of puberty, that could have an effect on how you appear as an adult.  Not sure.



Why are their no sickle cell pop up clinics where people living with sickle cell can attend for oxygen and hydration? Ones that have business hours that are easy to attend.


Not having day hospitals or day clinics (and night and evening clinics) for the treatment of sickle cell disease is a big problem.  As with a lot of other things in medicine (now that medicine is an industry) it is about money.  If there was money to be made there would be day and evening clinics, as it is there is no money to be made staffing clinics with doctors and nurses.  So there are no clinics and you are pretty much forced go to emergency rooms.


If you feel like you are developing a problem with your sickle cell disease, go to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible, don’t wait until you are having severe pain or other issues.  It is better to be proactive with your symptoms.



My normal PCV is 21 and lately dropped to 15. Do you know of any medication that boosts blood?


If your hematocrit is usually 21% (hemoglobin about 7 g/dl) and now it is 15% (hemoglobin about 5 g/dl) that is pretty low.  Having a low hemoglobin is not good, if this is new you should ask your health care provider why they think your hemoglobin is so low.  Probably ask them even if it is not new and you haven’t asked before.  If you are tired, have a rapid heart rate, can’t walk as far as you usually can without getting out of breath and sitting down, that is a reason to see your health care provider immediately.


It is possible, but not likely, that you have iron deficiency.  I would not take iron tablets unless you have blood testing and iron is recommended by your health care provider.  Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia in people who do not have sickle cell disease, but not that common in people who do.  There are other reasons for anemia besides iron deficiency.  So, if this is new, have it checked out.


Unfortunately there is no medicine that will increase your hemoglobin if this is due to your sickle cell disease alone.  The best you can do is have a good diet and drink plenty of fluids like everyone should be doing.  If you are older and have kidney problems, that could be the reason for your low hemoglobin.  Have it checked out.


It is worth mentioning that chlorophyll will NOT increase your hemoglobin.  Of course if you get your chlorophyll from eating a lot of green vegetables that is really good!  People think that chlorophyll will build up your blood because it looks a lot like hemoglobin.


Chlorophyll has Mg in the middle of the ring and hemoglobin has Fe in the middle of the ring.  If you look closely they are similar, but not the same.  Your body cannot make hemoglobin from chlorophyll and if you think that maybe it could and I am just not smart, you don’t need to buy it in a bottle or a pill.  Just eat a lot of green vegetables.  You will get all the chlorophyll you need and all the good vitamins and minerals that are in vegetables.  There is a smart person who has sickle cell who makes some pretty awesome drinks with his blender.  He has been featured on Sickle Cell 101.



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