Sickle Cell Disease: Approach to treatment

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In the past, the main focus of sickle cell disease treatment was pain management. However, recently, more focus has gone into avoiding the serious complications that can occur if the disease is not properly managed. Complications of sickle cell disease can be life-threatening and include stroke, infection, kidney disease, pulmonary hypertension, anemia, priapism and retinal disease.

A medication called hydroxyurea is being used to help slow the progression and complications of sickle cell disease, decrease frequency and severity of pain episodes, as well as decrease the amount of blood transfusions patients need throughout the course of their disease. The latest research efforts around sickle cell disease have been focused on studying stem cell transplants as a cure for adults with the disease.

It is important for sickle cell disease patients to advocate for themselves and discuss medications, such as hydroxyurea, and appropriate lifestyle modifications with their provider, in order to maintain the highest possible quality of life. Here in the community, Cone Health Sickle Cell Medical Center has a team of experts dedicated to educating and treating sickle cell disease patients throughout the area.

Cone Health Sickle Cell Medical Center has teamed with Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency to present “Integrative Care in Sickle Cell Anemia: Caring for Mind, Body & Spirit.” The program will be held on Friday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Lusk Center, located at 2500 Summit Ave., Greensboro, N.C. 27405. The program is free and a continental breakfast will be served. Please RSVP By Friday, Sept. 11 to Monica Summers at (336) 886-2437.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Michelle Matthews is the medical director and a board-certified internal medicine specialist at Cone Health Sickle Cell Medical Center. Dr. Matthews received a Doctor of Medicine from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1998. She completed her residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Detroit Medical Center in 2002. Dr. Matthews is a member of the Sickle Cell Area Provider Network.