Complications of SCD: Anemia

At a glance

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited blood disorders associated with severe pain and complications that can affect the entire body. This page provides information on SCD and anemia.

Woman lying on a couch.


With SCD, the red blood cells die early, leading to a condition called anemia. Anemia occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.


When a person has anemia, they might feel tired. Other symptoms can include:

  • Irritability
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • A fast heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale skin color
  • Jaundice (yellow color to the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Slow growth or delayed puberty