What Are The Symptoms of Anemia in Children?
The symptoms of Anemia are similar in children and adults. Symptoms may include:
Anemia is diagnosed by a simple blood test that measures the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Anemia can be caused by many conditions, including diet, certain medications, inadequate nutrition, parasitic infestation, poor health, chronic disease (such as kidney or heart failure), heavy menstrual flow, or pregnancy. For example, iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia during pregnancy.
Having another illness and Anemia will make it harder to treat both problems together. To properly diagnose and treat the underlying problem causing the patient’s frail condition, one should immediately consult a specialist. While iron supplementation is often used to treat milder cases of Anemia, sometimes blood transfusions are necessary.
How do you treat the symptoms of Anemia?
Iron is a mineral that helps make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood supply to all your organs and tissues. Anemia occurs when insufficient iron is available to produce healthy red blood cells.
The body needs iron-rich foods (meats and green leafy vegetables) and vitamin C (which aids in iron absorption) to maintain proper hemoglobin levels. People who have Anemia may need additional iron supplementation if their diet alone does not meet daily requirements for this vital nutrient, such as pregnant women or people recovering from illness or surgery. Iron supplements should be taken with orange juice or other vitamin-C-containing beverages to enhance their absorption.
Behavioral symptoms of iron deficiency in toddlers:
a.Apathy, lack of interest and concentration, irritability
b.Anorexia and loss of appetite
c. Lethargy, tiredness, and fatigue
d.Hypersomnia (excessive sleep) mostly at night but also during the day
e.Gross motor developmental delay like not sitting or crawling when expected to do so in time frame regular for age group at 18-24 months… may crawl instead of walking on hands and knees on floor or furniture making it look more like a ‘snail’ than a baby trying to get from one place to another..may have difficulty holding head up while being carried from one place to another on parent’s shoulders.
Difficulty getting around on their own with little walking may be noticed by parents before they see that their toddler is not speaking any words… after some time. These symptoms might lead to irritability.
f. Severe weight loss or failure to gain weight despite being adequately fed and having good appetite… with a typical growth chart showing higher percentile in terms of length but not in weight than what is specific for age group followed by a steep drop off in percentile with the growth charts showing a definitive fall from a high number in percentile at around 6-9 months to 10 numbers below at 18-24months.
may have delayed motor development similar to Lethargy with legs weaker than arms making it difficult for a toddler to walk, crawl on hands and knees on floor or furniture instead of walking like other babies their age (walking on feet instead of hands and knees is considered more advanced), holding head up while carried from one place to another on parent’s shoulders
g.Amenorrhea in girls (absence of menstruation) or Galactorrhea in boys ( milky nipple secretion for no apparent reason)
…difficulty sleeping through the night, waking up often, poor appetite with little interest in eating and drinking during the day..more likely to fall sick with an ear infection or other common colds than typical toddlers
h. Tendency towards Anemia because of iron deficiency, especially if the child is not eating enough meat/fish, also more prone to constipation than normal children for the same reasons…from the above symptoms, it might be just that parents suspect something isn’t right. Still, they may not be able to put their finger on precisely what is causing these changes or any of these symptoms…
i.With specific questions asked, the mother might also mention that their child refuses to be rocked or cuddled by anyone, including herself, is tired after feeding sessions, and may fall asleep during feedings with frequent regurgitation of breast milk/formula..wants to be held upright on the lap while eating unlike normal babies who like being fed lying on back with head supported by mother’s hand…after some time these symptoms might lead to irritability…and parents might lose confidence in nursing as a means of satisfying this toddler’s appetite for very long durations without feeling satisfied themselves….mom’s breasts may be sore more often than they used to be since the baby is having lesser comfort periods at night when they are sleeping and breastfeeding sessions are thus more frequent during the day.
Types of Anemia in children:
a.Hypochromic, microcytic Anemia
b.Normochromic normocytic anemia with iron deficiency
c.Normochromic normocytic anemia with folate deficiency
d.Macrocytic anemia…hypochromic, microcytic anemia is the most common type of Anemia seen in children. It is also one that would show up in a CBC done during a routine checkup or if a child shows up at the doctor’s office due to any other reason for any reason whatsoever because it has no symptoms associated with it related directly to immunology/infectious etiology…
the only symptom experienced by this toddler might be tiredness, lack of appetite, etc. which may not give parents enough reason to suspect something as serious as iron deficiency anemia unless they are aware of some common signs like pale skin or yellowish tinge to the white part of eyes or seeing their toddler become cranky and irritable for no reason.
Causes of Anemia in children:
1. Anemias of prematurity
2. Neonatal hemolytic Anemia
3. Hereditary spherocytosis or Microangiopathic hemolytic Anemia (autoimmune type).
4. Congenital and acquired forms of Anemia due to deficiency of Vit B12 and Folic acid:
the first step in the formation of red blood cells is mediated by a nutrient known as folic acid, which plays a significant role in cell division..because it is so critical for the production of red blood cells, we call its deficiency “methemoglobinemia” because even mild deficiencies can lead to severe consequences like Methemoglobinemia (high levels of methemoglobin in the blood)..the cells in your body which are undergoing rapid division or recycling in this case, red blood cells thus need lots of folic acids.
5. Anemia due to Vitamin D deficiency:
deficiency of vitamin D might be seen in children who are not exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods like those who stay most of the time/indoors live in dark places like basements because vitamin D is made when skin is exposed to sunlight…this makes them more prone to developing rickets (bone deformation).
6. Anemia due to Lead poisoning:
excessive exposure to lead can damage the bone marrow and affect its ability to produce enough red blood cells…Lead also competes with calcium for absorption, thereby further reducing calcium absorption, which is already reduced in children with lead poisoning..this reduces the strength of their bones and teeth, leading to underdeveloped jaws, bowed legs or pelvic bones, etc.
7. Iron deficiency anemia:
iron is another nutrient whose deficiency causes a significant reduction in red blood cell production by affecting enzyme systems involved in heme synthesis…it causes the formation of microcytic hypochromic/microcytic anemias characteristic of iron deficiency….
another problem associated with an iron deficiency that can cause problems for your child even before they show up visibly as anemic on a CBC is dysregulation of body temperature, causing them to feel cold all the time despite hot weather because red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen from lungs to tissues including muscles -which are primarily in the periphery of the body- which results in a reduction of blood supply to muscles making them feel cold.