Presentation on theme: "kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/anemia.html Anemia, one of the more common blood disorders, occurs when the level of healthy red blood cells (RBCs)"— Presentation transcript:
Anemia, one of the more common blood disorders, occurs when the level of healthy red blood cells (RBCs) in the body becomes too low. This can lead to health problems because RBCs contain hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body's tissues. Anemia can cause a variety of complications, including fatigue and stress on bodily organs. hemoglobin
Anemia can be caused by many things, but the three main bodily mechanisms that produce it are: - excessive destruction of RBCs - blood loss - inadequate production of RBCs Among many other causes, anemia can result from inherited disorders, nutritional problems (such as an iron or vitamin deficiency), infections, some kinds of cancer, or exposure to a drug or toxin.
Anemia Caused by Destruction of RBCs HemolyticHemolytic ("hemo" means blood, "lytic" means destroying) anemia occurs when red blood cells are being destroyed prematurely. (Normally, the lifespan of RBCs is 120 days. In hemolytic anemia, they have a much shorter lifespan.) And the bone marrow (the soft, spongy tissue inside bones that makes new blood cells) simply can't keep up with the body's demand for new cells. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, infections or certain medications - such as antibiotics or antiseizure medicines - are to blame.
In a condition known as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, the immune system mistakes RBCs for foreign invaders and begins destroying them. Other children inherit defects in the red blood cells that lead to anemia. Common forms of inherited hemolytic anemia include sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.sickle cell anemia
Sickle cell anemia Sickle cell anemia is a severe form of anemia found most commonly in people of African heritage, although it can affect those of Caucasian, Saudi Arabian, Indian, and Mediterranean descent. In this condition, the hemoglobin forms long rods when it gives up its oxygen, stretching red blood cells into abnormal sickle shapes. This leads to premature destruction of RBCs, chronically low levels of hemoglobin, and recurring episodes of pain, as well as problems that can affect virtually every other organ system in the body. About 1 out of every 625 African-American children is born with this form of anemia.
ThalassemiaThalassemia, which usually affects people of Mediterranean, African, and Southeast Asian descent, is marked by abnormal and short-lived RBCs. Thalassemia major, also called Cooley's anemia, is a severe form of anemia in which RBCs are rapidly destroyed and iron is deposited in the skin and vital organs. Thalassemia minor involves only mild anemia and minimal red blood cell changes.
Anemia Caused by Blood Loss Blood loss can also cause anemia - whether it's because of excessive bleeding due to injury, surgery, or a problem with the blood's clotting ability. Slower, long-term blood loss, such as intestinal bleeding from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can also cause anemia. Anemia sometimes results from heavy menstrual periods in teen girls and women. Any of these factors will also increase the body's need for iron because iron is needed to make new RBCs.
Anemia Caused by Inadequate Production of RBCs Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow can't make enough RBCs. This can be due to a viral infection, or exposure to certain toxic chemicals, radiation, or medications (such as antibiotics, antiseizure drugs, or cancer treatments). Some childhood cancers can also cause aplastic anemia, as can certain chronic diseases that affect the ability of the bone marrow to make blood cells.
Anemia also occurs when the body isn't able to produce enough healthy RBCs because of an iron deficiency. Iron is essential to hemoglobin production. Poor dietary iron intake (or excessive loss of iron from the body) can lead to iron deficiency anemia, the most common cause of anemia in children. Iron deficiency anemia can affect children at any age, but is most commonly seen in those younger thaniron deficiency anemia 2 years old.
Girls going through puberty also have a particularly high risk for iron deficiency anemia because of the onset of menstruation; the monthly blood loss increases the amount of iron they need to consume in their diets.
Signs and Symptoms of Anemia If your child has anemia, the first symptoms might be mild skin paleness, and decreased pinkness of the lips and nailbeds. These changes happen gradually, though, so they may be difficult to notice. Other common signs of anemia include: - irritability - fatigue - dizziness, lightheadedness, and a rapid heartbeat
Preventing Anemia Whether anemia can be prevented depends on its cause. Currently, there is no way to prevent anemia due to genetic defects affecting the production of RBCs or hemoglobin. However, you can take steps to help prevent iron deficiency, the most common form of anemia. Before following any of these suggestions, be sure to talk them over with your child's doctor.
Cow's milk consumption. During the first 6 months of life, babies are usually protected against developing iron deficiency by the stores of iron built up in their bodies pre-birth. But after month 6, as infants continue to grow, they often don't get enough iron through breast milk alone or regular cow's milk (which contains less iron than fortified infant formula). Regular cow's milk can also cause some infants to lose iron from their intestines, and drinking lots of it can make an infant less interested in eating other foods that are better sources of iron. For these reasons, regular cow's milk is not recommended for children until they reach 1 year of age and are eating an iron-rich diet. In addition, your child should not drink more than 24-32 ounces ( 709-946 ml) of milk each day. If you can't get your child to eat more iron-rich foods, speak with your child's doctor about giving your child an iron supplement.
Iron-fortified cereal and formula. These products can help ensure that your baby is getting enough iron, especially during the transition from breast milk or formula to solid foods.
Well-balanced diet. Make sure that your child or teen regularly eats foods that contain iron. Good choices include iron-fortified grains and cereals, red meat, egg yolks, leafy green vegetables, yellow vegetables and fruits, potato skins, tomatoes, molasses, and raisins. If your child is a vegetarian, you'll need to make an extra effort to ensure sufficient iron sources because iron found in meat, poultry, and fish is more easily absorbed than iron found in plant- based and iron-fortified foods. Also, be aware that certain food combinations can inhibit or promote absorption of iron. For example, drinking coffee or tea (including iced tea) with a meal can significantly lower the amount of iron absorbed. On the other hand, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron.