Iron status and anemia in the elderly

New findings and a review of previous studies

P. J. Garry, James Goodwin, W. C. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Iron status was determined in 280 free-living and healthy elderly men (n = 131) and women (n = 149) by assessing dietary and supplemental iron intake as well as ten biochemical measures of iron nutriture (erythrocyte count, hemoglobin level, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, plasma iron level, total iron-binding capacity, per cent transferrin saturation, and ferritin level). Subject ages ranged from 60 to 93 years with a median age of 72 years for both women and men. For comparison purposes, iron status measures in an unselected group of younger men (n = 107) and women (n = 164) between the ages of 20 and 39 years were also obtained. None of the elderly women and only two (1.2%) of the younger women had low hemoglobin levels (less than 12.0 g/dl). Three (2.3%) of the elderly men and none of the younger men had low hemoglobin levels (less than 14 g/dl). Other iron status measures revealed that anemia or iron deficiency was no more prevalent in the healthy elderly population than in the younger adult population when identical criteria were used to assess iron nutriture. The genesis of anemia often seen in the elderly is not completely understood. Reported evidence suggests the presence of anemia in the elderly is a result of overall reduction of hematopoietic reserves. Because of the potentially serious consequences of this assumption about anemia to the treatment of the elderly, the authors critically review some of the studies that have been designed in the past to determine the prevalence and etiology of anemia in the aged. They suggest that health status, race, socioeconomic status, diet, and region are more important than age as explanations for the high prevalence of anemia seen in many previous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume31
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Anemia
Iron
Erythrocyte Indices
Hemoglobins
Dietary Iron
Erythrocyte Count
Iron-Deficiency Anemias
Transferrin
Ferritins
Hematocrit
Social Class
Population
Health Status
Young Adult
Diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Iron status and anemia in the elderly : New findings and a review of previous studies. / Garry, P. J.; Goodwin, James; Hunt, W. C.

In: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 31, No. 7, 1983, p. 389-399.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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