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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There are different types of anemia. This type is caused by low levels of iron in the body. Iron is needed to build healthy RBCs. Low iron levels may be caused by one or more of the following:
These factors may increase your chance of developing this condition:
There may be no symptoms with mild anemia. In those who do have them, anemia may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests to diagnose iron-deficiency anemia may include:
Iron levels will need to be brought back to normal. The body will be able to increase RBCs as iron levels improves. This will relieve the anemia.
Iron can be taken as a supplement:
Iron can also be given through an injection. Iron stores may be fully restored over 1 to 2 injections.
Your doctor may recommend that you feed your baby iron-fortified cereal.
To help reduce your chance of having 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
Iron. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at:
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Iron deficiency in children (infancy through adolescence). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T435307/Iron-deficiency-in-children-infancy-through-adolescence . Updated November 21, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2017.
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US Preventive Services Task Force. The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Report of the United States Preventive Services Task Force. AHRQ Publication No. 06-0588; Rockville, MD: 2006.
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 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 7/19/2018