How do you know if your child has anemia?

How do you know if your child has anemia?

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Anemia, commonly known as anemia, is a common problem in the pediatric population. It is estimated that it can occur even in every second child who is under two years of age (these data relate to iron deficiency anemia, which is the most common form of anemia in children). So how can we recognize that our child is suffering from anemia and what should prompt us to urgently visit a pediatrician?

What exactly is anemia in a child?

Simply put, anemia is defined as decrease in the amount of hemoglobin in the body compared to the norm for age and sex (Hemoglobin is marked with the abbreviation Hb or Hgb on laboratory results and its main function is the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body). In most cases, the lowering of this parameter is also accompanied by other abnormalities in the laboratory blood picture (reduction in the number of erythrocytes (RBW), decrease in hematocrit (Ht or Hct), or changed shape of red blood cells).

What are the symptoms of anemia in the child?

Anemia is a general concept that contains many disease entities characterized by slightly different clinical pictures. Nevertheless, some of the symptoms are common to all types of anemia and they should be the alarm signal for parents. These include:

  • Weakness and increased fatigue - the child noticeably more often needs to rest, less willingly plays and avoids physical activity.
  • Impaired concentration, nervousness - these problems are usually expressed by worse school results than before.
  • Excessive drowsiness - children with anemia tend to have frequent cracks during the day.
  • Headaches and dizziness - dizziness especially often occurs when standing up suddenly.
  • Accelerated heart rate - sometimes children may report that they feel a feeling of palpitations.
  • shortness of breath - especially during physical exertion.
  • Paleness of skin coatings, oral mucosa and conjunctiva - if you have a slight anemia, this may be hard to see.
  • Frequently recurring infections especially the upper respiratory tract (bronchitis, pharyngitis or tonsillitis).
  • Thirst increased feeding difficulties and poor growth - especially in infants.
  • Jaundice - in case of haemolytic anemia (associated with excessive breakdown of red blood cells).

At this point it is worth emphasizing that these symptoms are very little specific and may indicate many times very dangerous diseases (for example leukemia, lymphoma or celiac disease). Therefore, if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should urgently report your child to a pediatrician who, after completing a series of basic tests, will be able to implement appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Iron deficiency anemia - the most common form of anemia

As we mentioned earlier, anemia is a general concept that contains many different diseases with slightly different clinical pictures. Of these, it is most common in children iron deficiency anemia. Its occurrence may be indicated by the following symptoms:

  • Weakening of the hair condition - the hair is thin, very brittle and tends to fall out easily.
  • Nail changes - the nails are clearly pale and have longitudinal grooves and stripes visible on them.
  • Zajady - painful skin cracks appearing at the corners of the mouth.
  • Dry skin - this may result in peeling skin, especially around the elbows and knees.
  • Language changes - there is a smoothing of folds on the tongue, which can be accompanied by pain and an unpleasant burning sensation.
  • Corrupted appetite - children with iron deficiency anemia may have an unobserved appetite for dry, unboiled rice, chalk, clay or starch.

Anemia in children is a problem quite common and in most cases results from insufficient supply of food as well as vitamins and minerals. However, in some cases, its appearance is only a symptom of much more serious, life-threatening diseases. Therefore, it is very important to observe your child and consult with the pediatrician any disturbing symptoms related to her health.