Sign, Symptoms and Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anemia in Children

Iron Deficiency Anemia in Children: Sign, Symptoms and Prevention

Definition of Anemia or Anaemia:

Anemia is a clinical condition characterized by pale coloration of the skin and mucous membrane due to qualitative and quantitative deficiency of haemoglobin below the lower limit in the peripheral blood in respect of age and sex.

Anemia is defined as the reduction in the number and quality of circulating red blood cells when the hemoglobin content is below the normal level for particular age, resulting in decreased oxygen carrying capacity.

Normal Hb Level:

  • Male- 13-18 gm /dl,
  • Female -11.5-1 6.5 gm / dl,
  • Children -16- 19 gm/ dl,
  • At birth- 18-20 gm/ dl.
Iron deficiency anemia or anaemia in children
Fig: Iron deficiency anemia or anaemia in children

Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia in Children:

1. Decreased iron stores:

  • Preterm, small for dates, twins,
  • Repeated venous sampling,
  • Feto-maternal hemorrhage.

2. Decreased intake:

  • Delayed weaning,
  • Iron poor diet.

3. Decreased absorption:

  • PEM,
  • Mal-absorption syndromes,
  • Chronic diarrhea.

4. Increased losses:

  • GI bleeding,
  • Hookworm infestation,
  • Peptic ulcer,
  • Bleeding diathesis.

5. Increased demand:

  • Prematurity,
  • LBW,
  • Recovery from PEM.

Signs and Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia:

Clinical Features of Iron Deficiency Anemia:

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia:

  • Pallor,
  • Irritability,
  • Fatigue,
  • Tiredness,
  • Listless,
  • Weakness,
  • Anorexia, and
  • Failure to thrive,
  • There is usually vomiting, diarrhea and respiratory infections.

Signs of Iron Deficiency Anemia:

  • Excessive pallor of the skin; conjunctiva and mucous membrane is found.
  • Nails become thin, brittle and flat.
  • The child may have pica and atrophy of tongue papillae.
  • Older children may present with koilonychia.
  • In severe anemia spleen may enlarge.
  • Cardiac enlargement with soft systolic (hemic) murmur may be detected.
  • The child may be manifested by unhappiness, lack of co-operation and short attention span with poor school performance.

Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anaemia:

  • Adequate antenatal care for prevention of maternal anemia and iron-folic acid supplementation to all antenatal mothers.
  • Prevention of preterm delivery or low-birth weight, and control of infections in prenatal, natal and neonatal period.
  • Introduction of semi-solid and solid foods from 4 to 6 months of age as complementary feeding.
  • Universal immunization to all children to prevent chronic illness.
  • Iron-folic acid supplementation to the children and adolescent girls.
  • Adequate treatment of parasitic infestations, chronic illnesses and IDA.
  • Improvement of living condition by avoidance of open-air defecation, practicing environmental sanitation, hygienic measures, wearing of shoes, balanced diet and preventive measures of nutritional deficiencies.

More questions related to this article:

  1. What is anemia?
  2. Define anaemia?
  3. What do you mean by anaemia?
  4. What are the causes of iron deficiency anaemia in children?
  5. Write down the clinical features of iron deficiency anaemia.
  6. How can you prevent iron deficiency anaemia?
  7. What are the sign and symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia in children?

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