Many individuals with sickle cell disease can live for long periods without experiencing severe symptoms of the disease. Awareness and research of the disease, applications of therapies discovered through research studies, and improved use and availability of health care have contributed longer lives for individuals affected with sickle cell disease. Contrary to previous estimates, a large percentage of individuals with sickle cell disease survive beyond the age of thirty or even fifty years old.
Ideal practices and approaches to optimal care maintenance with sickle cell disease include “well-patient” care coupled with a positive outlook. This means that visits to the hematologist or primary healthcare provider doctor should not be isolated to “sick visits.” Well-patient medical follow-up visits provide a better psychological setting between the health provider and the family. Well visits help the medical caretaker to become familiar with the normal, healthy physical and laboratory studies. This should provide more effective health maintenance and preventive coping skills. Development of such relationships allows both the health care provider and the family to compile individualized information for better health maintenance and prevention.