How to Manage

How to Manage

Living Well with Sickle Cell

Building a foundation of healthy habits can help you live your life! People with sickle cell can have full lives and enjoy many activities. You can not only survive, but thrive, with sickle cell!

Two young women standing on the beach smiling and embracing

Living Well With Sickle Cell Disease

  • Find good medical care
    Sickle cell is a complex condition that can be difficult to understand. Good medical care from doctors and nurses who are familiar with the condition can prevent serious problems. It is a good idea to include a hematologist (a blood specialist) in your care plan. You can find a specialist here, and ask your current healthcare provider about routine checkups. Be sure to always talk to your healthcare professionals about your symptoms and care plan.
  • Prevent infections
    Common illnesses like the flu can be dangerous when you have sickle cell. Practice daily good hygiene with hand-washing and food safety.
  • Develop healthy habits
    Hydration and nutrition are very important for people with sickle cell. Staying well hydrated may help prevent a pain crisis, so make sure to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium-rich foods like low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy green vegetable, and calcium-fortified foods like soy milk, orange juice and tofu. It can help to add nutrient-rich high-calorie foods like dried fruit, nuts and smoothies to your diet as well.
  • Maintain a balanced body temperature
    Try not to get too hot or too cold. Physical activity should be part of your life, but don’t overdo it. Listen to Dalilah and Mekhi talk about how they pay attention to their bodies.
  • Get support
    Your family and friends can help you check your health and be there to listen to you. Even if you’re the only one in your family with sickle cell, like Dalilah, your family can still help. You may want to find a support group or community organization that can provide information and support (you can see a list of groups here). Talking with people who know what you’re going through can make all the difference. It can provide a network of people to learn from.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about clinical studies that might be right for you
    New clinical studies about sickle cell are starting all the time. Ask your healthcare provider whether any studies might be right for you.