Dizziness & Confusion
The sickled blood cells increased the risk for blockage in blood vessels. Vessels in many organs, especially the brain, are extremely small and can be blocked easily. Blockage of vessels in the brain can cause stroke and/or seizure.
- A stroke will have symptoms of numbness or weakness in an arm/leg, slurred speech, drooping on one side of the face, or trouble balancing. This is an emergency and you should call 911 or go the emergency department immediately.
- A seizure will have symptoms of temporary confusion, staring spells or “blanking out”, loss of consciousness, or uncontrollable jerking of the arms or legs. If the seizure lasts for longer than 5 minutes you should call 911. You can help protect someone having a seizure by following these recommendations.
- You can reduce the risk of stroke and seizure by monitoring annually with a test called a transcranial doppler. This is a test that measures blood flow in the brain and can help identify whether you may be at risk.
Low blood pressure is more common in SCD than in the general population. This is thought to be due to changes in blood vessels and the body’s absorption of salt. Signs of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness, confusion or fainting.
- It is important to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day, and especially during pain episodes or infections when drinking water may be more difficult.