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what could this be

By January 29, 2010 - 6:57am
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I have sickle cell disease, I have started to have these pulsating pains very very strong from the base of my neck down to my sacral area. The pain is so bad that I cant move or breathe when it happens, they last about 30 secs each time then I get dizzy and a headache. It does not matter whether I am lying down or sitting up. This is beginning to occur frequently started off with several month intermissinos but now i can count on it once a week. What is this? No neuro deficits, no incontinence, no trauma, no numbness/tingling.

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thank you, but each time i have had blood work done they say everything is normal ..so i am told that i am not having a crisis. I was thinking that it was a crisis but apparently it is not

January 29, 2010 - 5:43pm
HERWriter Guide

Dear echanel

Thanks for your question and I'm so sorry you've been experiencing this kind of pain - it sounds pretty traumatic.

You may be experiencing what is known as a "sickle cell crisis" - are you familiar with that term? Here is more information on what that's all about :

Sickle cell anemia produces a group of symptoms known as a sickle cell crisis. These are episodes of pain that occur with varying frequency and severity, and are usually followed by periods of remission. The risk for a sickle cell crisis increases with any activity that boosts the body's requirement for oxygen, such as illness, physical stress, or high altitudes.

These painful crises can last hours to days. They affect the bones of the back, the long bones, and the chest. The crises can be severe enough to require hospital admission for pain control and intravenous fluids.

Symptoms of impending sickle cell crisis include:

◦Pain and swelling in the hands and feet
◦Chest pain, or episodic pain in joints, abdomen, or back
◦Shortness of breath
◦Abdominal swelling
◦Unusual or prolonged headache
◦Any sudden weakness or loss of sensation
◦Priapism (prolonged erection)
◦Sudden vision changes
◦Sudden, severe anemia can cause:
■Shortness of breath
■Heart failure
■Loss of consciousness

Many of your symptoms (including back pain, weakness and headaches as well as dizziness from possible anemia) are listed.

There is nothing you can do to stop all the effects of sickle cell anemia (it's a genetic condition and cannot be prevented unless adults with the condition decide not to have children which is totally unrealistic) but there are some things you can do to help the symptoms :

There are some general guidelines that may keep the condition under control. Be sure to discuss these with your healthcare provider.

◦Take daily folic acid supplements to build new red blood cells.
◦Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
◦Avoid temperature extremes.
◦Avoid overexertion and stress.
◦Get plenty of rest.
◦Get regular check-ups with knowledgeable healthcare providers.
◦Seek genetic counseling.

echanel, since these bouts and getting more and more regular and are very debilitating, I would suggest a visit to your doctor. Write down all your symptoms, what you were doing in the hours leading up to an "attack" as well as what you were doing at the time, and include times, days and duration of the symptoms. Your doctor may increase/decrease or change your medications and offer further advice based on your own individual case.

Please do update us if you see a doctor and if we can help you further or have additional questions, let us know.



January 29, 2010 - 1:34pm
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