What Is Causing Anaemia In Young Children And Why Is It So Persistent?
Rhitik had turned Four, but his growth appeared to be slower than the other kids of his age. He also seemed to get tired quickly. His mother decided to see a paediatrician. The paediatrician examined Rhitik and diagnosed him as anaemic. ‘Doc, what is that? Please tell me all about it’ pleaded Radhika.
When the count of Red Blood cells in the blood falls below a certain level, it is called anaemia. Red blood cells have a protein called haemoglobin which picks up oxygen from the lungs and carries it to all the cells of the body to keep them fit and healthy. Loss of red blood cells means less availability of oxygen to the body cells. This adversely affects the physical health and, if neglected, may cause permanent damage to the body and the brain. As per the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation Govt of India’s report on children and adolescents says that in India 69% boys and 69.7 % of girls are anaemic.
Causes of Anaemia
1. Iron Deficiency
2. Serious sickness.
3. Direct or indirect Loss of blood.
4. Inherited disorders like Sickles.
5. A Pale skin
6. Poor appetite
7. Abnormally rapid breathing
8. The bone marrow is not able to produce RBCs to match the rate of wastage of the same.
When are kids susceptible to anaemia?
Till the age of six months, Infants who are breastfed get sufficient iron from mother’s milk hence are normally not anaemic. But as they grow, the need of oxygen and hence the amount of iron required by the body varies with the level of activity of the individual. Some main identifiable stages could be
1. When babies start exploring their surroundings, they need more energy move around, hence more oxygen.
2. During school going years when they play outdoors and try all sorts of stunts, there is an increase in the demand for iron in their bodies
3. Another stage is when they enter their teens. At puberty the body undergoes a hormonal change. From this stage on, girls are more susceptible to anaemia due to menstruation.
If children do not get adequate iron intake during these formative years they are at a risk of becoming anaemic. This may have lasting effect on their body and brain.
Why does iron deficiency anaemia seem to persist amongst children?
Iron is not vital only for human growth but is equally essential for some disease-causing microbes. It seems that the human immune system ‘withholds’ iron from the body to starve the microbes. This adversely affects the availability of iron to the child as well. This appears to be the main reason of persistence of anaemia amongst children.
Prevention and cure
The best way to prevent and cure anaemia is through proper diet. Suggested diet is as follows:
1. For Non-vegetarians
2. Lean red meat
4. Chicken thighs
2. Breakfast cereals fortified with iron.
3. Dark green vegetables, such as spinach.
4. Pulses, like beans, lentils.
Vegetarians should give Citrus Fruit juices to kids to enhance absorption of iron in the body.
Iron supplements should be given only in extreme cases and that too, on doctor’s advice. Over dosage of iron supplements can be harmful for their health.
Carengrow have a unique health monitoring system which plays a vital role in detecting the onset of anaemia at the initial stage itself and advise effective remedies before it is too late.