Pediatric Anemia Symptoms & Causes

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What is anemia?

Anemia is a common blood disorder that occurs when the body has fewer red blood cells than normal.

Anemia is often a symptom of a disease rather than a disease itself. Anemia usually develops due to:

  • excessive blood loss
  • deficient production of red blood cells
  • excessive red blood cell destruction
  • both decreased production and excessive destruction of red blood cells

What are the different types of anemia?

Symptoms of Anemia

What are the symptoms of anemia?

Each child may experience symptoms differently, but the following are the most common symptoms for anemia, although some of those listed below are specific to certain causes of anemia:

  • pale skin, lips, hands or under the eyelids
  • increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • breathlessness, or difficulty catching a breath (dyspnea)
  • lack of energy, or tiring easily (fatigue)
  • dizziness, or vertigo, especially upon standing
  • headache
  • irritability
  • irregular menstruation cycles
  • absent or delayed menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • sore or swollen tongue (glossitis)
  • jaundice, or yellowing of skin, eyes and mouth
  • enlarged spleen or liver (splenomegaly, hepatomegaly)
  • slow or delayed growth and development
  • impaired wound and tissue healing

Symptoms may resemble those of other pediatric blood disorders or medical problems. Because anemia is often a symptom associated with another disease, it is important for your child's physician to be aware of any symptoms she may be experiencing. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

Anemia Causes

What causes anemia?

Anemia may be caused by several problems, including:

  • nutritional deficiencies (iron, folic acid or vitamin B12)
  • inherited diseases (e.g., Fanconi anemia, thalassemia, sickle cell anemia)
  • certain cancerous condition
  • scertain medications
  • infection
  • autoimmune diseases
  • bleeding
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