What is Iron deficiency anemia?
Anemia is a condition where red blood cells are not
providing adequate oxygen to body tissues.
There are many types and causes of anemia
but iron deficiency anemia is the most
Iron deficiency anemia is a decrease in the
number of red cells in the blood caused by
insufficient dietary intake or absorption of
iron is i.e. hemoglobin, which contains
iron, cannot be formed.
How iron deficiency anemia occurs in infants & children?
Babies are born with about 500 mg of iron in their bodies.
Children need to absorb an average of 1 mg
per day of iron to keep up with the needs of
their growing bodies. Since children only
absorb about 10% of the iron they eat, most
children need to ingest 8-10 mg of iron per
day. Breast-fed babies need less, because
iron is absorbed 3 times better when it is
in breast milk.
An iron deficient diet is a common cause of
iron deficiency. Drinking too much cow's
milk is a classic cause of iron deficiency
in young children, because cow’s milk does
not contain iron and inhibits absorption of
iron. Iron deficiency may also result from
blood loss in stool from a problem in the
A common time for iron deficiency is between
9 and 24 months of age. All babies should
have a screening test for iron deficiency at
Iron deficiency in children can also be
related to lead poisoning
What are the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia?
Symptoms are pallor, fatigue and weakness. (disease often
goes unrecognized for some time.)
In severe cases, dyspnea can occur. Unusual
obsessive food cravings, known as pica, may
Hair loss and lightheadedness can also be
associated with iron deficiency anemia.
Other symptoms patients with iron deficiency
anemia have reported are:
Constipation, Tinnitus, Palpitations, Seeing
Bright Colors, Fainting, Feeling faint, Depression, Weakness, Breathlessness, Twitching Nerves, Tingling, Numbness, Burning sensations & Sleep apnea (rare).
How to treat iron deficiency anemia?
First if the cause is dietary iron
deficiency, iron supplements must be taken
some times bad absorption of iron occur when
taken with milk coffee or tea therefore
Vitamin C is very important cause it
increases bioavailability in both presence
and absence of inhibiting substances