Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States

Evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia

Jack M. Guralnik, Richard S. Eisenstaedt, Luigi Ferrucci, Harvey G. Klein, Richard C. Woodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Clinicians frequently identify anemia in their older patients, but national data on the prevalence and causes of anemia in this population in the United States have been unavailable. Data presented here are from the noninstitutionalized US population assessed in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994). Anemia was defined by World Health Organization criteria; causes of anemia included iron, folate, and B 12 deficiencies, renal insufficiency, anemia of chronic inflammation (ACI), formerly termed anemia of chronic disease, and unexplained anemia (UA). ACI by definition required normal iron stores with low circulating iron (less than 60 μg/dL). After age 50 years, anemia prevalence rates rose rapidly, to a rate greater than 20% at age 85 and older. Overall, 11.0% of men and 10.2% of women 65 years and older were anemic. Of older persons with anemia, evidence of nutrient deficiency was present in one third, ACI or chronic renal disease or both was present in one third, and UA was present in one third. Most occurrences of anemia were mild; 2.8% of women and 1.6% of men had hemoglobin levels lower than 110 g/L (11 g/dL). Therefore, anemia is common, albeit not severe, in the older population, and a substantial proportion of anemia is of indeterminate cause. The impact of anemia on quality of life, recovery from illness, and functional abilities must be further investigated in older persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2263-2268
Number of pages6
JournalBlood
Volume104
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

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Anemia
Iron
Health
Nutrition
Folic Acid
Nutrients
Hemoglobins
Recovery
Inflammation
Chronic Renal Insufficiency
Population
Nutrition Surveys
Chronic Disease
Quality of Life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

Cite this

Guralnik, J. M., Eisenstaedt, R. S., Ferrucci, L., Klein, H. G., & Woodman, R. C. (2004). Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States: Evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia. Blood, 104(8), 2263-2268. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2004-05-1812

Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States : Evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia. / Guralnik, Jack M.; Eisenstaedt, Richard S.; Ferrucci, Luigi; Klein, Harvey G.; Woodman, Richard C.

In: Blood, Vol. 104, No. 8, 15.10.2004, p. 2263-2268.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Guralnik, JM, Eisenstaedt, RS, Ferrucci, L, Klein, HG & Woodman, RC 2004, 'Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States: Evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia', Blood, vol. 104, no. 8, pp. 2263-2268. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2004-05-1812
Guralnik, Jack M. ; Eisenstaedt, Richard S. ; Ferrucci, Luigi ; Klein, Harvey G. ; Woodman, Richard C. / Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States : Evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia. In: Blood. 2004 ; Vol. 104, No. 8. pp. 2263-2268.
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