Anemia is a common blood disorder caused by a deficiency of red blood cells (RBCs) and is characterized by lack of vitality. It is estimated that around 7 percent of children in the United States experience anemia once by the age of 18 years. The most common cause of anemia in toddlers is iron deficiency.
Iron is important in the production of hemoglobin, which is a protein that primarily transports oxygen from the lungs to the different parts of the body. Iron also aids different brain functions. Insufficient intake of iron leads to a shortfall in hemoglobin production, leading to poor mental functioning and a feeling of tiredness.
The symptoms of anemia in babies include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Enlarged spleen
- Dark urine
Anemic children may also show symptoms of jaundice though several infants display symptoms of jaundice without being anemic.
Owing to the number of possible causes of anemia, it is necessary to first identify the cause of anemia in your child. If you notice any signs of anemia, immediately consult your family physician. The diagnosis of the disease may include a blood test that measures the red blood cells in the body.
Depending on the cause, the possible treatment options may vary and include:
- Iron supplements (tablets, drops, and liquid)
- Iron-rich diet
- Folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements
However, it is important to consult a doctor before you administer any medicine or supplement to your child.
For more severe forms of anemia, the treatment options may include:
- Blood transfusion
- Treatment of infection causing anemia
- Medications to maintain the level of red blood cells in the body
Disclaimer: The above information is commonsense reflection drawn from general experience. If you are looking for expert medical advice, please consult your doctor.