Most people with sickle cell anemia experience painful episodes called crises that can last from hours to days. Crises can cause pain in the chest, joints, leg and lower back.
Some people have one episode every few years, while others have many episodes each year. The pain can be severe enough to require a hospital stay.
Severe pain such as body aches, fatigue, fever and headache may result due to infections related to sickle cell anemia. Younger children with sickle cell anemia have attacks of pain in the abdomen. Painful joints caused by arthritis is another symptom experienced by children with the disease.
The goal of treatment is to manage and control symptoms, and to limit the number of crises. People with sickle cell disease need ongoing treatment, even when not having a crisis.