SCD manifests as a chronic hemolytic anemia. In addition to the general symptoms of anemia (fatigue, weakness, pallor etc.) patients are prone to infection, cardiomegaly (usually due to iron deposits from frequent transfusions), and bone and organ infarcts. Male patients can experience priapism. Children with SCD experience slowed growth and development.
Patients with SCD can experience vaso-occlusive crisis, hemolytic crisis, sequestration crisis, and aplastic crisis. The main symptom in SCD is pain. Pain is a warning sign that is related to vaso-occlusion and life-threatening complications.