Sickle Cell Society
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Sickle cell test?

Hi all.

Would a standard blood test in the UK show up defective hemoglobin that underlies sickle cell anemia? Or would you need a specific test for this? My recent blood tests came back and they were fine. I'm trying to find a reason for my severe joint pain. I've been anaemic many times. My daughter and mother also suffer with anemia.

Would it be worth requesting a test for this?

Thank you in advance for any help.

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Hi Cat,

You would need a specific test for this as routine blood tests such as an FBC would not demonstrate presence of sickle haemoglobin in the blood. It's unlikely that you or your family suffer from due to the fact that multiple generations have not demonstrated the signs of sickle cell anaemia, however it's not impossible that you maybe a carrier depending on your family origins and ethnicity.

There are far more likely and common forms of anaemia that should be considered and you should discuss this with your doctor.

There are such things not enough iron (and other nutrients) in your diet, this is the most common cause of anaemia in the world. You may not be able to absorb enough iron if your have inflammatory or absorption issues in your digestive system. Or you may have greater turnover of red cells due to conditions that could be related the family of disorders which sickle cell anaemia sits within, these are called haemoglobinopathies (Pathologies of haemoglobin) that affect red cells, other things that cause decreased haemoglobin (anaemia) can be other causes such as infection, drugs/,medicines, other health conditions such as gall stones (due to affecting the liver), chronic heath conditions or even running if you do a lot of this may effect destruction of red cells.

This all depends on your clinical history and severity of the anaemia, women also tend to run a lower haemoglobin than men so this should be considered also. As always your first port of call your be your health professional to explain the anaemia, how progressed it is and you are symptomatic and/or its severe enough or even if its causing your anxiety then what further tests could be done to help deferentially diagnose the cause of the anaemia. I would also suggest seeing if there's a common factor between the three of you if you are all symptomatic to establish a theme.

Good luck and keep the forum posted

DMB

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