Anemia is a low level of red blood cells (RBC). RBCs carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Lower RBC counts mean the body is not getting enough oxygen.
Red Blood Cells
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Iron is needed to build healthy RBCs. This type of anemia is caused by low levels of iron in the body. Low iron levels may be caused by one or more of the following:
Things that may increase the chance of this anemia are:
Mild anemia may not cause problems. Those that do have problems may have:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests will be used to confirm anemia. It will also show problems with the level of iron. Other tests may be done to look for a cause.
Iron levels will need to be brought back to normal. The body will then be able to increase RBC levels and cure the anemia. Treatment choices may include:
If you are at risk for anemia:
Talk to your doctor about your baby’s diet. General guidelines include:
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Dietitians of Canada
Camaschella C. Iron-deficiency anemia. N Engl J Med. 2015 May 7;372(19):1832-1843.
Iron deficiency anemia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/iron-deficiency-anemia-in-adults/. Updated March 14, 2019. Accessed February 12, 2020.
Iron deficiency in children (infancy through adolescence). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/iron-deficiency-anemia-in-children. Updated January 29, 2020. Accessed February 12, 2020.
Lopez A, Cacoub P, Macdougall IC, Peyrin-Biroulet L. Iron deficiency anaemia. Lancet. 2016 Feb 27;387(10021):907-916.
10/12/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T435307/Iron-deficiency-in-children-infancy-through-adolescence: Baker R, Greer F, Committee on Nutrition American Academy of Pediatrics. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics. 2010;126(5):1040-1050.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/2/2020