For blood to transport oxygen, the body must produce hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin production requires adequate supplies of iron. Iron-deficiency anemia occurs when there isn't enough iron in the body.
Depending on iron levels, symptoms can range from mild, or even unnoticeable, to more severe. They may include tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, brittle nails, and poor appetite. Causes of iron-deficiency anemia include an iron-poor diet, blood loss, inability to absorb iron, and pregnancy.
Eating a diet with iron-rich foods will prevent iron-deficiency anemia in most people. Good sources include eggs, red meat, leafy green vegetables, and iron-fortified foods.
If you suspect symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia, call your doctor. The condition is easily treated with iron supplements but it's important to get a professional diagnosis and recommended dosage. Too much iron in the body can damage the liver or cause other complications.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|Word! Anemia People who have anemia have fewer red blood cells than normal, which can make them feel tired because not enough oxygen is getting to their bodies' cells.|
|Iron and Your Child Iron is an essential nutrient that is needed to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells.|
|Beta Thalassemia Beta thalassemia is a blood disorder in which the body has a problem producing beta globin, a component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body.|
|Blood Test: Hemoglobin Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. A hemoglobin test may be performed as part of a routine health exam, during a time of illness, or to detect anemia.|
|Anemia Anemia is common in teens because they undergo rapid growth spurts, when the body has a greater need for nutrients like iron. Learn about anemia, including how to lower your risk of getting it and how it's treated.|
|About Anemia What does it mean when a kid has anemia? Learn about anemia, why kids get it, and how it's treated in our article for kids.|
|Anemia Anemia, one of the more common blood disorders, occurs when the number of healthy red blood cells decreases. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including fatigue and stress on all the body's organs.|
|Blood Test: Ferritin (Iron) Doctors may order a ferritin test when they suspect kids have too little or too much iron in their bodies.|
|Iron-Deficiency Anemia Iron helps the body carry oxygen in the blood and plays a key role in brain and muscle function. Too little iron can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Read more here.|
|Blood Without blood, our organs couldn't get the oxygen and nutrients they need, we couldn't keep warm or cool off, we couldn't fight infections, and we couldn't get rid of our own waste products. Find out about the mysterious, life-sustaining fluid called blood.|
|Blood Blood is vital to bodily function. Read this article for the basics about blood, blood cells, blood diseases, and more.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.