Anemia | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of anemia?

Each child may experience anemia symptoms differently. Some of the symptoms included are specific to certain causes of anemia but most are non-specific. Anemia can also be a symptom associated with other diseases. The most frequently noted anemia symptoms include:

  • 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

It is important to understand that some symptoms of anemia may resemble those of other more common medical problems or other blood disorders. Because some of these symptoms can also point to other conditions, and because anemia itself can be a symptom of another medical problem, it’s important to have your child evaluated by a qualified medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment.

What are the causes of anemia? 

Anemia's causes are largely dependent on the type of anemia your child suffers from. The most common causes include:

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