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Indian J Pediatr. 2015 Jun;82(6):558-64. doi: 10.1007/s12098-014-1643-9. Epub 2015 Feb 1.

Iron deficiency anemia in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Midas Children Hospital, Nagpur, India,


Iron deficiency is not just anemia; it can be responsible for a long list of other manifestations. This topic is of great importance, especially in infancy and early childhood, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, iron need is maximum in this period. Secondly, diet in infancy is usually deficient in iron. Thirdly and most importantly, iron deficiency at this age can result in neurodevelopmental and cognitive deficits, which may not be reversible. Hypochromia and microcytosis in a complete blood count (CBC) makes iron deficiency anemia (IDA) most likely diagnosis. Absence of response to iron should make us look for other differential diagnosis like β thalassemia trait and anemia of chronic disease. Celiac disease is the most important cause of true IDA not responding to oral iron therapy. While oral ferrous sulphate is the cheapest and most effective therapy for IDA, simple nonpharmacological and pharmacological measures can go a long way in prevention of iron deficiency.

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