Iron deficiency anemia has become a prime concern in modern medicine. Kids suffering from this ailment show frequent setbacks in growth and overall health. Left untreated, it can become life-threatening, and has been reported to be fatal under poor medical monitoring and treatment
Parents, especially in the developing countries lack awareness, thus neglecting the early signs of iron deficiency anemia in their children. So how do you spot the apparent symptoms in your kids? What are the ways of diagnosing your kid’s health regarding iron deficiency anemia?
Thankfully, modern medicine has tracked down the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of children’s iron deficiency anemia, as well as their respective treatments.
What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Iron deficiency anemia is an ailment wherein a person’s RBC count falls below the expected measurement, thus resulting in reduced hemoglobin content in the blood. In kids, this happens mainly due to lack of dietary iron in their system; although there are other reasons as well. Infants suffering from iron deficiency anemia show subtle signs that are overlooked by parents lacking awareness. This only fuels the symptoms to culminate into more severe health conditions.
What Are The Major Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency Anemia In Kids?
Symptoms vary from mild to severe depending on how well the child is being taken care of and being given the essential dietary iron for their health. Some of the major symptoms of iron deficiency anemia in children include:
- Pale Skin
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Low Appetite
- Pica (appetite for non-food items)
- Engorged Spleen
- Swollen Tongue
- Low Birth Weight
- Physical Weakness
- Delayed Growth
How to Diagnose Iron Deficiency Anemia in Kids?
Fortunately, modern medicine has devised ways in which we can successfully diagnose the early signs and prevent them from taking hazardous turns.
The American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommends every parent to have their child diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia within the first year of birth. This is important especially for low birth weight infants as they are prone to such ailments.
Some of the well-researched and authorized diagnostic procedures include:
- Proper diagnosis of blood samples should be conducted to test the optimum levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit or iron levels.
- Sometimes iron deficiency anemia occurs due to blood loss through stools. Every child should have their stool diagnosed to ensure they are not facing the same issue
- A CBC (Complete Blood Count) test should be done to examine the expected balance of RBCs, WBCs, Platelets, and Reticulocytes.
- Peripheral Blood Smear test should be conducted to ensure the proper circulation of the blood cells and check for any deviation from their normal looks and size.
- A Bone Marrow Aspiration often comes in handy in such diagnostic processes. It is recommended that every child has their bone marrow examined for the number, size, and maturity of the blood cells, as well as the presence of any abnormal cell.
What Are The Possible Treatments & Preventive Measures For Iron Deficiency Anemia In Children?
- Kids rely on only breastfeeding for the first 6 months. However, once they start ingesting solid foods, make sure their diet is iron-fortified. This will compensate for the lack of essential iron during the breastfeeding period.
- To avoid any risk, parents can also give their kids medically prescribed dosage of iron supplements even in their breastfeeding days.
- Bottle milk intake should be restricted, as excess cow milk dilutes and hinders iron absorption in kids.
- Besides iron-rich foods, infants should be fed sources rich in Vitamin C. It helps in the proper absorption of iron in the body.
- Iron supplements should be added to their diet after a certain period, provided the dosage, manufacturer, and quality is thoroughly examined and approved by experienced medical practitioners.