Anaemia is the condition with reduced Red cells in the body.
 
SYMPTOMS
  • Depends on many factors
    • Age of child
    • Severity of anaemia
    • Other associated conditions- ex. Heart problems
  • Fast heart rate(to compensate low haemoglobin)
  • Fatigue/ Weakness( because heart is beating fast)
  • Pale( because of low red cells)
  • Yellowish skin( if red cells are breaking, jaundice is formed)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or Chest pain
  • Desire to eat non-food items, such as ice, paper or clay (pica)

 

 DETERMINING FACTORS FOR NORMAL RED CELLS
  • Adequate Production from bone( if low production, then anaemia)
  • Normal life expectancy of red cells( If cells are destroyed early then anaemia)
  • If bleeding, then red cells are lost
  • Red blood cells need Vitamins and minerals for surviving, like Iron, vitamin B. If there is no supply of these vitamins, then anaemia

 

 CAUSES OF ANAEMIA AND TYPES

Iron deficiency anaemia.

  • This is most common type
  • Due to reduced intake of iron in food, or problem absorbing the iron from food.
  • In pregnancy, more blood is required ( as the baby is growing), hence iron tablets are given in pregnancy.
Vitamin deficiency anaemia.
  • Vitamin and folic acid are required for formation of red cells. Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables and B12 is found in egg, milk, meat.
  • The vitamins are absorbed in body with help of a factor (protein). Absence of this causes anaemia (pernicious anaemia)

Infections- Like malaria cause breaking of red cells

Anaemia of chronic disease.

  • Long-term infections like cancer, AIDS, arthritis, kidney disease, chronic  diseases of gut (inflammatory bowel diseases) can cause anaemia

Failure of bone marrow to produce cells(Aplastic anaemia)

  • It can be caused by viral infections, medications, chemicals and sometimes inherited from parents

Early breakage of red cells(Haemolytic anaemias)

  • Lysis means ‘ to break’. certain infections and defects in red cells can cause early breakage of cells.
  • There is generally a family history of such diseases

Various other types like thalassemia( genetic defects running in families), Sickle cells (genetic defects).

 

INVESTIGATIONS
  • The doctor can notice that the child is pale, the mouth and nails are colourless. The heartbeat could be fast with a murmur( sound due to fast moving blood)
  • Blood test- to count number of red cells( Full blood count)
  • Peripheral smear- to see the quality of cells( shape/ structure)
  • Levels of iron, vitamins in blood
  • If there is jaundice, then the reason for breakage of red cells needs to be found
  • Bone marrow aspirate- The bone is drilled and the marrow ( factory of cell production) is observed.
  • Genetic studies

 

 TREATMENT
include these foods in child’s diet for iron content.
    • Brown rice
    • Dark-green leafy vegetables
    • Pulses and beans
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Meat, fish, eggs

 

  •  If the doctor feels it is due to deficiency of iron, he will start an iron syrup. (2-5 mg /kg/day).
  • Its is given for approx 3 months and blood test is done to find cells increasing in number
  • In some babies, anaemia at 2-4 months is noted. If the baby is born term (> 38-week gestation) then no treatment is generally given.
  •  Blood is transfused if severely pale

 

 DANGER SIGNS
  • Severe pale looking child
  • Drowsy, unconscious
  • Heart disease
  • Severe leg pain in pale child
  • Jaundice

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