Anemia in infants results from a low count of red blood cells, which are produced by the stem cells in the bone marrow. There are different types of anemia that are either congenital or acquired.
Anemia in Infants Symptoms
Indications of anemia manifest in various ways:
- Jaundice of skin and eyes or abnormally pale complexion
- Heart murmur
- Increased heart rate
- Dark colored urine
- Dizziness & weakness
- Unusual shortness of breath
- Enlarged spleen
Due to symptoms being different from one patient to another, proper diagnosis through tests can determine the disease.
Diagnosis of Anemia in Children
The following additional diagnostic tests determine the presence and type of anemia in an infant.
- Blood smear examination
- Hemoglobin electrophoresis
- Iron tests
- Reticulocyte count
Signs of Complications of Anemia in Infants
- Severe forms of anemia can result to impairment of growth and development of motor and mental skills.
- Decreased alertness or short attention span
- Children with severe anemia have an increased risk for stroke.
Causes of Hemolytic Anemia in Infants
Aside from a deficiency in the bone marrow, anemia can be caused by numerous factors.
- Viral infection, exposure to radiation, toxic chemicals and medications for anti-seizure or cancer
- Excessive blood loss, whether by injury or due to blood clotting problems, can contribute to the risk of anemia.
- Anemia may also occur if red blood cells are deteriorating prematurely, putting pressure into the bone marrow. Autoimmunity can be inherited by children, as seen from certain types of anemia.
- Sickle cell anemia is apparent on people of African descent.
- Thalassemia affects people with origins from the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and Africa. It is also called Cooley’s anemia, marked by red blood cells being destroyed and iron deposits are left in the vital organs.
- Hereditary spherocytosis is another genetic disorder that may cause anemia, among other illnesses. People of Northern European heritage are more prone to this disorder.
- Iron deficiency anemia happens when the body is not producing enough iron to create a healthy army of red blood cells. The production of hemoglobin requires iron. Consumption of excessive amounts of milk adds risk of anemia caused by iron deficiency.