What is the global prevalence of iron deficiency anemia?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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A study of national primary care database for Italy, Belgium, Germany, and Spain determined that annual incidence rates of iron deficiency anemiaI ranged from 7.2 to 13.96 per 1,000 person-years. Higher rates were found in females, younger and older persons, patients with gastrointestinal diseases, pregnant women and women with a history of menometrorrhagia, and users of aspirin and/or antacids. [10]

In countries where little meat is in the diet, iron deficiency anemia is 6-8 times more prevalent than in North America and Europe. This occurs despite consumption of a diet that contains an equivalent amount of total dietary iron; the reason is that heme iron is absorbed better from the diet than nonheme iron. In studies of children and adolescents from Sudan and Nepal, iron deficiency anemia was found in as many as two thirds of subjects. [11]

In certain geographic areas, intestinal parasites, particularly hookworm, worsen the iron deficiency because of blood loss from the GI tract. Anemia is more profound among children and premenopausal women in these environs.

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