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Health Information For Parents
Anemia is when the number of red blood cells in the body gets too low. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin (HEE-muh-glow-bin), a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. Without enough of them, oxygen doesn’t get to the body’s organs. Without enough oxygen, the organs can’t work normally.
There are many different kinds of anemia, so treatments vary.
The types of anemia are based on what causes them. They include:
Some children with anemia don’t have any symptoms. A child who does have symptoms might:
Young children with iron-deficiency anemia also might have developmental delays and behavioral problems.
Doctors usually can diagnose anemia by:
Sometimes doctors do tests on the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the spongy part inside the bone where blood cells are made. For this test, the doctor puts a needle into the bone to take a small bone marrow sample. The sample is sent to the lab for special tests.
Treatment for anemia depends on the cause. Kids and teens with anemia might need:
Most kinds of anemia are treatable. It may take a while for symptoms to go away, so your child should take it easy while recovering.
Help your child get the best care by:
Iron helps the body carry oxygen in the blood and plays a key role in brain and muscle function. Too little iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia.
Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that makes red blood cells change shape and cause health problems. Find out how to help your child.
G6PD deficiency an inherited condition in which someone doesn’t have enough of the enzyme G6PD, which protects red blood cells.
Alpha thalassemia is a blood disorder in which the body has a problem producing alpha globin, a component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body.
Beta thalassemia is a blood disorder in which the body has a problem producing beta globin, a component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body.
Iron is an important ingredient needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying part of every red blood cell.
Doctors may order a ferritin test when they suspect kids have too little or too much iron in their bodies.
This test measures the rate at which reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) are made in the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream. A reticulocyte count can provide information about a child’s anemia.
A hemoglobin electrophoresis can help diagnose diseases involving abnormal hemoglobin production, and often is performed as part of newborn screening tests.
Here are the basics about the life-sustaining fluid called blood.
People choose vegetarianism for a variety of reasons. This article describes different types of vegetarianism and provides advice on ways for vegetarians to get all the nutrients they need.
Find out about the mysterious, life-sustaining fluid called blood.
About 5 million people a year get blood transfusions in the United States. This article explains why people need them and who donates the blood used.
Sickle cell disease is a disease of the blood. Red blood cells are shaped like sickles, and can get stuck, especially inside smaller blood vessels.
Anemia is common in teens because they undergo rapid growth spurts, when the body needs more nutrients like iron. Learn about anemia and how it’s treated.
The complete blood count (CBC) is the most common blood test. It analyzes red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
What does it mean when a kid has anemia? Learn about anemia, why kids get it, and how it’s treated in our article for kids.
Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that makes red blood cells change shape and cause health problems. Find out more in this article for teens.
Red blood cells have the important job of carrying oxygen.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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