Sickle Cell Anemia - Diagnosis

Anemia is easily diagnosed from its symptoms. Once a patient is diagnosed with anemia, a doctor will then try to trace the cause of the disorder. If the person is of African American or other high-risk heritage, sickle cell anemia may be suspected. This diagnosis can be confirmed by at least two laboratory tests. In the first test, a sample of the patient's blood is examined under the microscope where the presence of sickle cells is easy to see.

A doctor can confirm that sickle cells are present with a second test, called gel electrophoresis (pronounced jel ih-LEK-tro-fuh-REE-siss). Gel electrophoresis is a method for distinguishing similar kinds of molecules from each other and will show whether abnormal forms of hemoglobin are present in the blood.

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