Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kids with Low Iron

I got this question via email:

"Is there anything you could do for kids having low iron? I have a family member who's child has low iron,they have given medication,which she can't take,cause it's awful. Is there anything from experts out there that could also help,without the medication.What effects there are if the child can't get the iron to come up to where its normal?
I have read where low iron,could cause ADHD.How true is this? And are there any other health issues,from having low iron?
Thank you,I read your column daily,Some really good topics,Keep up the good work.
Mom of 2 boys."

Here's the response from Dr. Jared Rogers at Methodist Medical Center:

A child having 'low iron' is usually diagnosed by checking for anemia.This is done by drawing blood for a complete blood count (CBC).However, the CBC will only tell if the blood count is low. ONE of the causes for a low blood count is low iron. This can be confirmed by further blood testing.

If it is determined that the cause is low iron,it is important to determine why the iron is low. Is it simply that the child has been deficient in iron intake over a prolonged period of time,or is the child loosing small amounts of blood frequently, such as from a silent ulcer in the stomach or intestine? If it is the former, then iron intake needs to be increased. The foods that are rich in iron are numerous including red meats and green leafy vegetables.

One can take prescription iron preparations, but many times these taste 'yucky,' and the child won't take them. Chewable vitamins with iron 2 per day are not quite as good as the prescription iron preparations for replacement,but are much more palatable.Low iron may be reflected in fatigue, exercise intolerance, learning disabilities and listlessness. Whatever is causing the low iron is important to be discovered and the problem should be closely followed by a physician until it is resolved.Hope that helps.

My kids don't eat red meat or anything green and leafy. I wouldn't be surprised if they are low in iron. I never really thought about it until now. They have both had blood work though and it came back normal. So maybe not!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


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