Anemia is the lack of hemoglobin, a red blood pigment that contains iron and brings oxygen into the body’s tissues. Among the various types of anemia the most frequent is iron deficiency (or sideropenic) anemia.
The most likely cause of this disorder is the insufficient amount of iron in the food. Unfortunately, the disease usually reduces appetite, which exacerbates the condition. In most infants, it is not important that artificial or natural milk contains little iron because they can consume iron reserves created before birth. However, preterm newborns have small iron reserves, and therefore prone to sideropenic anemia.
The less common cause of sideropenic anemia is the inability of children to absorb iron from food, e.g. in celiac disease.
In mild anemia there are no obvious symptoms sometimes. Excessive anemia (of any kind) is manifested by symptoms such as paleness, especially on the pads of the fingers and eyelids, fatigue, weakness and (not so often) dizziness, loss of breath, heart palpitation (especially during an effort), inactivity and loss of appetite.
What to do?
If your child is not active as his/hers peers, and especially if he/she loses a breath after even the slightest activity, take him/her to a doctor. Do not try to act on your own by giving your child iron supplement.
A doctor will take a blood sample for the analysis. Additional tests may need to be done at the hospital. If a doctor sets a diagnosis of sideropenic anemia due to iron deficiency in food, he will prescribe the iron (usually in the liquid form) that your child will take for three months or longer. Your doctor will also give you instructions on nutrition. Infants who are introduced to semisolid food will receive a lot of iron in canned baby food as well as in meat, eggs and green vegetables.