Doc Talk: Your Fatigued Child Could Be Anaemic

 

fatigued kid having anaemiafatigued kid having anaemia

 

Most children are cheerful and energetic with no care in the world. But some kids could be facing severe problems like fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of energy and dizziness. These are signs of iron deficiency that leads to anaemia.

 

Anaemia is a common blood disorder that occurs when the level of hemoglobin or healthy red blood cells (RBCs) in the body becomes lower than normal levels. The Prevalence of Anaemia in young children continues to remain over 70% in most parts of India.

 

Iron deficiency anaemia occurs when the body isn't able to produce enough healthy RBCs. The most common cause in children is poor dietary iron intake or excessive loss of iron from the body. Iron deficiency anaemia can affect children at any age, but is most common in those younger than 2 years old. Young children who take predominantly milk in diet are at increased risk for iron deficiency. Girls going through puberty also have a particularly high risk for iron deficiency anemia because of the onset of menstruation; the monthly blood loss increases the amount of iron they need to consume in their diet. Among many other causes, anemia can result from deficiency of other nutrients (like folic acid and Vitamin B12),worm infestation, inherited disorders (like sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia, G6PD deficiency) chronic infections, diarrhea or exposure to a drugs and toxic substances like lead ingestion.

 

Symptoms of Anaemia 

 

If your child has anaemia, he/she will appear pale. Other common symptoms can be irritability, fatigue, dizziness, light headedness, decreased concentration and eating nonfood items i.e. pica. In infants and preschoolers, iron deficiency anaemia can result in developmental delays and behavioral problems such as decreased activity and problems with social interaction and attention to tasks. 

 

Diagnosis

 

Anaemia can be diagnosed by Complete Blood Count (CBC). Other diagnostic tests like serum Iron and Ferritin can help to determine whether anaemia is due to iron deficiency. Evaluation by your pediatrician for cause and complete treatment is important. 

 

Treatment

 

If a child has iron deficiency anaemia, iron supplementation as prescribed must be taken for as long as 3 months to rebuild the body's store of iron. Adding certain iron-rich foods to your child's diet or reducing milk intake is advisable. In adolescent girls heavy or irregular menstrual periods should be treated to regulate the bleeding. Folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements may be prescribed.

 

Prevention

 

For the first 6 months the babies have stores of iron built up during pregnancy, but after 6 months breast milk alone or regular cow's milk (which contains less iron than fortified infant formula) does not provide adequate iron. Regular cow's milk is not recommended for children until they are 1 year old and start eating an iron-rich diet. In addition, they should not drink more than 24-32 ounces (709-946 ml) of milk each day including breast milk. If you can't get your child to eat more iron-rich foods provide iron supplementation. Iron-fortified cereal and formula milk can ensure enough iron during the transition from breast milk or formula to solid foods.

 

Ensure that your child regularly gets foods that contain iron like iron-fortified grains and cereals, red meat, egg yolks, leafy green vegetables, yellow vegetables and fruits, tomatoes, molasses, and raisins.

 

A vegetarian will need to make an extra effort to ensure sufficient iron sources because iron found in meat, poultry, and fish is more easily absorbed than iron in plant-based foods. Also drinking coffee or tea (including iced tea) with a meal can significantly lower the amount of iron absorbed. On the other hand, vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron so vitamin C rich food like Oranges and citrus fruits should be included in the diet

 

This article is written by Dr Amit Tyagi, Associate Consultant, Paediatrics, Department of Neonatal, Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi.

Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/ Getty Images

Related Articles -

DIY: Health Checks You Must Do

Follow us on Twitter for all updates, like us on Facebook for related stuff

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »