Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Anemia Associated With Higher Risk Of Death In The Elderly

Date:
October 25, 2005
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Elderly people with the lowest and highest hemoglobin concentrations (the component of red blood cells that carries oxygen) are at increased risk of death, according to a study in the October 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Elderly people with the lowest and highest hemoglobin concentrations (the component of red blood cells that carries oxygen) are at increased risk of death, according to a study in the October 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Increasing evidence indicates that anemia is common in the elderly population, but few studies have assessed the association of anemia with clinical outcomes, such as illness and death, according to background information in the article. Anemia is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a hemoglobin concentration of less than 12 g/dL (grams per one tenth liter) for women and less than 13 g/dL for men.

Neil A. Zakai, M.D., of the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, compared the association of hemoglobin concentration and anemia status with subsequent death over the course of eleven years in elderly adults living in four U.S. communities. Hemoglobin concentrations were determined for participants recruited between 1989 and 1993. Participants were contacted biannually; telephone and clinic examinations were conducted alternately. Deaths were reviewed and classified as cardiovascular or noncardiovascular. Complete follow-up was available through June 2001 for this analysis.

Hemoglobin concentration was analyzed in two ways: by dividing the participants' baseline hemoglobin into five equal levels and by the WHO criteria for anemia. Based on the WHO criteria for anemia, 498 individuals were anemic on enrollment (8.5 percent of the 5,797 included in the analysis), the researchers report. The hemoglobin concentration for the 1,205 individuals in the lowest fifth was higher than the WHO criteria for anemia, and 41.3 percent of these 1,205 people did qualify as anemic by WHO standards.

"In this elderly cohort, the prevalence of anemia was 7.0 percent among white and 17.6 percent among black individuals," the authors write. "After 11.2 years of follow-up, lower hemoglobin concentrations were associated with increased mortality risk, independent of many potentially confounding factors. The magnitude of this association was similar whether the lowest quintile [fifth] of hemoglobin or the WHO criteria for anemia was used; however, the number of participants was much larger when considering the lowest quintile of hemoglobin concentration." Another finding of the study was that there was also elevated mortality among those in the highest hemoglobin quintile, even after extensive adjustment for other factors.

"In conclusion, a lower hemoglobin concentration was independently associated with mortality in this elderly cohort," the authors write. "The bottom hemoglobin quintile defined a larger group at risk than anemia status based on WHO criteria. Future areas of investigation should determine the optimal hemoglobin value that defines an abnormal concentration in elderly individuals, study the causes of low hemoglobin concentrations in elderly individuals and how these relate differentially to outcomes, evaluate the causes of increased mortality in individuals with low and high hemoglobin concentrations, and assess whether treatment of low hemoglobin in the general population reduces mortality."

###

(Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165: 2214-2220. Available pre-embargo to media at www.jamamedia.org.)

Editor's Note: This research was supported by contracts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Md. Dr. Cushman has received research funding in the form of a subcontract with the University of Alabama funded by Amgen; the project is not related to this article.

Editorial: Anemia in the Elderly
Time for New Blood in Old Vessels?

In an accompanying editorial, Jerry L. Spivak, M.D., of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md., writes, "The four articles in this issue of the Archives usefully highlight and advance our conceptions of the cause of anemia in the elderly and anemia's health-related impact. Anemia, of course, is always the consequence of another disorder, and correction of the underlying disorder is the most effective means of alleviating the anemia. However, anemia in the majority of the elderly is caused by conditions such as chronic renal insufficiency, chronic inflammation, cancer, or bone marrow failure, some of which are actually an aftermath of the aging process and most of which defy correction. It is now also well established that anemia frequently exacerbates the illness causing it, while having its own independent adverse effects."

"What remains to be determined is whether pharmacologic correction of anemia ... can slow disease progression, reduce morbidity [illness], improve quality of life, and prolong survival, and whether there is a favorable cost-benefit ratio to society for such improvements," Dr. Spivak continues. "Recent failed attempts to answer these questions in the setting of renal failure or cancer indicate that this will not be an easy task, but the prospect of a doubling in the number of elderly persons over the next 25 years indicates that it is a task that cannot be ignored or deferred."

(Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165: 2187-2189. Available pre-embargo to media at www.jamamedia.org.)



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Anemia Associated With Higher Risk Of Death In The Elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051025075342.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2005, October 25). Anemia Associated With Higher Risk Of Death In The Elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051025075342.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Anemia Associated With Higher Risk Of Death In The Elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051025075342.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins