Anemia is a very common condition that occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells. It can also be caused by a lack of hemoglobin in the blood, as well as a deficiency of certain minerals.
Kids of all ages may become anemic at some stage due to the high amounts of growth their body goes through. It is more likely to occur in newborns and adolescents as they go through significant bodily and hormonal changes. Read on to find out what the common signs and symptoms of anemia are in kids.
What Are the Different Types of Anemia?
Kids can become anemic when there are not enough red blood cells in the body. This can create problems, as the red blood cells carry oxygen around the body.
There are many different kinds of anemia that can affect kids:
1. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common kind of anemia. A lack of iron in the blood results in less hemoglobin and limits the body’s ability to create red blood cells.
2. Megaloblastic anemia occurs when there is a lack of folic acid or vitamin B-12 in the blood. As a result, the body creates larger than usual red blood cells, but in insufficient quantity.
3. Hemolytic anemia is when severe infections and certain medicines destroy red blood cells.
4. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic condition that leads to abnormally shaped red blood cells.
What Are the Symptoms of Anemia?
In some cases, your child may not display any symptoms at all. If they do show symptoms, they will usually have one or more of the following:
- Pale skin, cheeks, and lips
- Irritable or moody
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Fast heartbeat
- Dizziness and weakness
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes; dark urine)
Treatment for Anemia
The treatment for anemia depends on the type of anemia your child has, but, in many cases, simple preventative measures will help.
Prevention: A balanced and healthy diet is usually a great start, as many forms of anemia are caused by iron and other mineral deficiencies. Aim to add iron-rich foods such as meat, fish, beans, oatmeal, and leafy green vegetables to their diets. Also, try to add as much Vitamin C as possible, such as citrus fruits and green vegetables, to help your child’s body absorb the iron.
Attend Well-Child Exams: As kids sometimes might not display any symptoms of anemia, you should always attend your well-child appointments. During the sessions, they will do an examination and ask you questions about their health and development. They may notice some potential warning signs and order some blood tests to check for anemia.
Other Treatments: If your child has an inherited condition, your pediatrician will advise you on steps to take to ensure that your child can enjoy a full and active life. For some kids, they may require medicines and dietary supplements, or, in more serious cases, blood transfusions. If an underlying medical condition causes anemia, then this will need to be addressed by your medical team.