Sickle cell individuals are at increased risk for blood clots and these may also occur in the vessels that supply the heart, which can lead to a heart attack.
- Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in the jaw or arm, or nausea medical emergency and you need to call 911 or report to the hospital immediately
Sickle cell individuals are also susceptible to lung damage due to frequent small or large vessel obstructions that occur. When the lung vessels are damaged, they heal in a scar-like fashion making the vessels stiffer. This increases the blood pressure in the lungs and also can increase the workload on the heart causing the heart to grow larger. This may lead to heart disease in the long term.
The heart in sickle cell individuals operates at a higher rate than the rest of the population due to the chronic anemia that is present. This can lead to heart disease as you get older.
- Signs of heart disease include shortness of breath, discomfort with day-to-day activity, chest pain, chest pressure