Blood and iron deficiency in children
From a Chinese medicine perspective, blood and iron deficiency is a common problem in children and it can occur in children aged 6 months to 12 years old.
With an accurate diagnosis, Chinese Medicine can assist with this problem. In Chinese Medicine theory, the Spleen organ makes the blood from the food and fluid that the child consumes. The Liver organ stores the blood. The primary function of blood is to nourish and moisten the body with nutrients and promote the growth of tendons and muscles. When this function is not occurring adequately various signs and symptoms can be seen in the child. These include a pale face, lack of energy, poor appetite, heart palpitations, sleeping problems and irregular bowel movements.
Chinese Medicine considers there to be three main causes of blood and iron deficiency in children:
- Inadequate diet and lack of nutritious food, including not enough milk, vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat and protein. Poor nutrition can lead to a lack of energy and blood being created and circulated in the body.
- Eating too much sweet food can affect the appetite and create fullness resulting in the child not wanting to eat more nutritious food.
- Digestive system disorder or weakness affecting one or more of the organs involved in digestion: Spleen, Stomach, Large & Small Intestine, Liver or Gallbladder. Any disorder of these organs will affect the ability of the body to absorb the food, even if the food is of good quality.
It is important to analyse the causes of blood and iron deficiency in children in order to give the appropriate treatment.
In general, Chinese medicine recommends providing children with a balanced diet high in green vegetables, fruit and protein (milk, eggs, meat). It is important that children have exercise but not in excessive amounts as it can quickly deplete the child’s blood and energy. Children should also be encouraged to have adequate sleep and rest periods to rebuild their blood and energy.