Sickle-cell thalassemia digital illustration

Sickle-Cell Thalassemia: Understanding the Disease

Sickle-cell thalassemia is a genetic disorder that affects the production of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. It is a combination of sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, two inherited blood disorders that can cause a range of health problems.

People with sickle-cell thalassemia have abnormal hemoglobin molecules in their red blood cells, which can cause the cells to become stiff and sticky, and form into a sickle shape. This can lead to a range of complications, including anemia, pain, organ damage, and an increased risk of infections.

  1. Anemia: Sickle-cell thalassemia can cause a chronic shortage of red blood cells, leading to anemia. This can cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
  2. Pain: Sickle-cell thalassemia can cause episodes of intense pain, known as sickle-cell crises. These can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly affect the bones, chest, and abdomen.
  3. Organ damage: Over time, sickle-cell thalassemia can cause damage to the organs and tissues of the body, including the lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen.
  4. Infections: People with sickle-cell thalassemia have an increased risk of infections, particularly from bacteria that can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious illnesses.

Sickle-cell thalassemia is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing medical care and management. Treatment may include blood transfusions, medications to manage pain and prevent infections, and regular monitoring of organ function. In some cases, bone marrow or stem cell transplants may be recommended as a curative treatment option.

If you or someone you love has sickle-cell thalassemia, it’s important to work closely with your healthcare team to manage the condition effectively and reduce the risk of complications. With proper care and support, people with sickle-cell thalassemia can lead full and productive lives.

Diagnosis Codes for Sickle-cell thalassemia | D57.4