1: Blood. 2004 Oct 15;104(8):2263-8. Epub 2004 Jul 6. Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States: evidence

for a high rate of unexplained anemia.

Guralnik JM, Eisenstaedt RS, Ferrucci L, Klein HG, Wodman RC. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on

Aging, 7201 Wisconsin Ave, Rm 3C-309, Bethesda, MD 20815, USA.

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 microg/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.

Mesh Terms:

Age Factors





Ethnic Groups






Sex Characteristics

United States/epidemiology



PMID: 15238427 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]