Anemia may raise stroke risk in young children
Iron-deficiency anemia is 10 times more common among young children who have suffered a stroke than among their peers who have not had a stroke, new research indicates.
Iron-deficiency anemia is known to occur in up to 8 percent of children between 1 and 3 years of age. A deficiency of iron in the diet is the most frequent cause of this anemia.
Evidence from previous case reports has suggested a link between iron-deficiency anemia and stroke, the researchers note in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics.
To examine this association further, Dr. Patricia C. Parkin, from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and colleagues assessed the occurrence of iron-deficiency anemia in 15 previously healthy children who experienced a stroke and in 143 similar children without a stroke. The children were about 2 years old.
Iron-deficiency anemia was defined as hemoglobin levels of less than 110 grams per liter, plus low average volumes of red blood cells and iron levels. The prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia in the stroke group was 53 percent, significantly higher than the 9 percent rate in the comparison group.
Although the stroke patients had higher counts of platelets, blood components that cause the blood to clot, which itself may promote stroke, iron-deficiency anemia alone appeared to be a risk factor for stroke.
This research provides additional evidence that strategies for the prevention and early detection of iron-deficiency anemia are needed for young children, the authors conclude.
SOURCED: Pediatrics, November 2007.
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