FAQ - sickle cell trait
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What difference Between Sickle cell trait & Sickle Cell Disease?

I have Sickle Cell Trait.
Whats' the Difference Between Sickle Cell trait and Sickle Cell disease?
What does Sickle cell trait do?
What does both sickle cell trait & disease affect?

Sickle cell is the full blown disease characterized by acute and chronic pain in various parts of the body. It is caused by the blood cells being misshapen and not being able to carry oxygen to the various parts of the body. Starve the tissue, organ etc. of oxygen and what you get is pain - acute pain. This can lead to the tissue dying and scar tissue forming.
The trait is simply being a carrier of the gene that leads to the full disease but having mild symptoms - this perception is changing at last because people with the trait can often suffer acute problems out of the blue - without warning. We have a very useful guide we can send you giving our experience over 20 years - written by someone with sickle cell - we can even arrange for you to talk with her if you want.  (+ info)

Does sickle cell trait affect the white blood cells? Does it cause a low white blood cell count?

The reason for my question is my girlfriend told me that her white blood cell count was low and the first thing that popped into my mind was HIV/AIDS so I'm freaked. But before she told me she has sickle cell trait and that it affects white blood cellls and she's had low white blood cells all of her life. She said that they are a little below normal. Just want to know. PLEASE!


It can cause lower WBC Count.

Let me count the ways:

Directly by neutrophils adhering to vascular walls along with sickled RBCs

indirectly secondary to hyper-spleenism causing pancytopenia

from Hydroxyurea the only medication approved for treatment of sickle cell.

(Not to mention that African decent is one of the genetic predispositions to idiopathic leukopenia.)


low white blood count

Sometimes the cause of a low white blood cell count can't be determined (idiopathic). Known causes of a low white blood cell count (leukopenia) include:
Infections, such as viral infections and HIV
Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus
Certain medications, especially those used in chemotherapy and some antibiotics
Radiation therapy
Bone marrow disease, such as leukemia or myelodysplastic syndromes
White blood cells help fight infection in your body. A normal white blood cell count ranges from 4,500 to 10,000 cells per microliter of blood. A mild decrease in white blood cells below 4,500 cells per microliter doesn't necessarily indicate a serious illness. However, a dangerously low white blood cell count — below 2,500 cells per microliter — increases the risk of serious infection.


Neutropenia is a low count of one type of white blood cell, the netrophil.

What conditions are associated with neutropenia?

Neutropenia can be present (though it is relatively uncommon) in normal healthy individuals, notably in blacks and Yemenite Jews. Causes of neutropenia from disease can be categorized as resulting from decreased production of white blood cells, destruction of white blood cells after they are produced, or pooling of white blood cells (accumulation of the white blood cells out of the circulation).
Diseases causing decreased production of white blood cells include drug toxicity, vitamin deficiencies, and medical diseases such as blood diseases, infections (virus diseases, tuberculosis, typhoid), abnormalities of the bone marrow disorders, or be cyclic (varying in severity week to week, month to month, perhaps related to biorhythms). Destruction of white blood cells can occur as a result of antibodies attacking the cells (such as in Felty's syndrome) or from drugs stimulating the immune system to attack the cells. Pooling of white blood cells occurs with some overwhelming infections, heart-lung bypass during heart surgery, and hemodialysis.

Sickle RBCs adhere to endothelium because of increased stickiness. The endothelium participates in this process as do neutrophiles, which also express increased levels of adhesive molecules.

the only drug currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of SCD is hydroxyurea.

Hydroxyurea is a potentially leukemogenic and carcinogenic agent.
Potential complications referable to long-term use are not yet known.
Its use also requires frequent blood testing and monitoring, with special attention to development of leukopenia and/or thrombocytopenia.



Leukopenia as part of pancytopenia due to hyperspleenism.

Pancytopenia is generally due to diseases affecting the bone marrow, although peripheral destruction of all lines of blood cells in hypersplenism (overactive spleen) is a recognised cause

Splenomegaly grouped on the basis of the pathogenic mechanism
Increased function
Abnormal blood flow
Removal of defective RBCs
nutritional anemias
early sickle cell anemia


Having said all of that,

sickle trait in no way rules out all the other causes of leukopenia.

The best way to rule out HIV is to test for HIV.  (+ info)

What problems have you encountered raising your child with sickle cell TRAIT?

I know sickle cell TRAIT is not nearly as concerning as actually having the disease, but my toddler's doctor mentioned that people with sickle cell trait have pain at high altitudes above 5,000 feet. I'm curious about any other concerns for kids with the trait.

I have sickle cell trait, I'm 17 and a live a pretty active life. I have never experienced or heard of any problems that come with carrying the trait. I am told though, the only major effect it will have in my life will be if I were to have a child with someone else carrying it. As a result, our child would have a 1/4 chance of having the actual disease.  (+ info)

What are the risks of the Sickle Cell Trait?

My kids have Sickle Cell Trait because my husband has that. And i have been told so little about that. The doctor has told me that my kids are not allow to have kids with someone that has that. Because they could have miscarriage or the baby can die in the womb. It's that true? And who can tell me of the risk that they mite have? What are the things that they can and can't do in life?

Sickle cell trait is a recessive trait. (Ss) where little is the trait. If they reproduce with another person with the trait (Ss) then there is a 1 in 4 chance the child will have sickle cell anemia (which can cause fetal distress= miscarriage or death), 2 in 4 chance the child will be a carrier and a 1 in 4 chance the child will be "normal."

If the child has sickle cell anemia and lives through birth they will likely have episode of extreme pain along with, if they are female, all of their births being considered high risk.  (+ info)

Can having the sickle cell trait effect or cause someone to get muscular dystropy? Are they connected?

My son has been diagnosed with the sickle cell trait, and now the doctors are thinking he has muscular dystrophy. I was just wondering if the trait can enhance the muscular dystrophy or had any part in causing it. Thanks

They are separate traits, and there is no connection. I hope your son is OK.  (+ info)

If you have the sickle cell trait and have iron deficiency, what does that mean?

My father has a miner case of sickle cell and i think i have the trait and i have iron deficiency anemia.

well sickle-cell trait means you're a carrier, not a sickler, you shouldn't worry about anything rather than be selective when it comes to your future husband cuz of the possibility of passing genes down to ur unborn children.

In the mean time, you have nothing to worry about, iron deficiency is a separate issue you could work it out with your doctor and try to adjust your diet by eating fortified cereals, more red meat, and not taking tea right after meals.

best of luck,  (+ info)

Is a sickle cell trait severe as the sickle cell disease?

I just found out that my child has a sickle cell trait and i wanted to know how severe is that is it the same as having the disease is it close to it or do i have nothing to worry about?

Sickle cell trait just means that he can pass the disease on to his children but that he himself does not have it. Sickle Cell Disease is the actual disease and your blood is shaped like a spike and it can clog your veins and arteries.  (+ info)

Does having sickle-cell trait affect someone getting a tattoo?

I was thinking about getting a tattoo, however i have sickle-cell trait. I don't think this would affect me getting a tattoo since it is more of a genetic thing, but i wanted to be 100% sure before i get it. Does anybody know?

it shouldnt...you probably want to talk to your doctor first tho.
did you know that people with sickly cell trait are resistant to malaria?
anyway should be fine but it def would not hurt to double check  (+ info)

can a person get sickle cell when one parent has the trait and the other parent is normal?

my brother has sickle cell. but father does not have the trait buy my mother does. where did my brother get sickle from my mother or father?

Yes, you can be a carrier or you could have sickle cell.  (+ info)

My 4y old daughter has Sickle Cell Trait and lately very cold hands. Is this related to the trait?

Lately she says that her hands hurt and she has even cried. Her doctor says that it's nothing to worry about and to just assist her in warming her hands when they are cold, but they are ALWAYS as cold as ice. Could this have something to do with the fact that she has the sickle cell trait? I just want to be able to help her and right now all I can do is try and keep her little hands warm.

Cold hands can be a symptom of sickle cell. I don't know if there's anything you can do about it, but I think it's very likely that it could be related. If you haven't already, I'd suggest sharing your concerns specifically with her doctor.

This has nothing to do with your question, but I just have to tell you that several months ago you responded to a question about my miscarriage and your response was really touching. Thank you for sharing your story with me. :)  (+ info)

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