Iron Deficiency Anemia Impacts 25% Worldwide

Anemia, particularly iron deficiency anemia (IDA), affects nearly a quarter of the global population, driven predominantly by iron deficiency. This condition disproportionately impacts preschool children, pregnant and non-pregnant women, as well as individuals with chronic conditions such as kidney disease, cancer, or those undergoing certain surgeries. Iron homeostasis, critical to managing IDA, relies primarily on regulated absorption rather than excretion, with the peptide hormone hepcidin playing a crucial role by modulating iron uptake based on the body’s needs.

Anemia, Affecting Millions in the US, Varies in Treatment

Anemia is a prevalent blood disorder affecting millions of Americans. It is characterized by insufficient red blood cells or dysfunctional ones, and this leads to low hemoglobin levels and a variety of symptoms like weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Several conditions can increase the risk of developing anemia, including chronic diseases like kidney disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders, as well as life stages such as pregnancy. It’s essential to recognize the symptoms early, as many people don’t realize they have anemia until it’s diagnosed through a blood test.

Iron Deficiency and Anemia: A Cycle of Nutritional Deficiency Impacting Women Globally

Iron deficiency (ID) is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency worldwide, significantly affecting women due to increased iron demands during pregnancy and menstruation. This condition often progresses to iron deficiency anemia (IDA), characterized by severe fatigue and cognitive impairments. IDA disproportionately impacts low-income groups who lack access to nutritious food and healthcare.

Limited Progress in Combating Anemia, Multifaceted Approaches Needed

A study noted that, despite efforts, progress in reducing anemia has been slow, with only a slight decrease in prevalence over two decades. The prevalence in women of reproductive age even increased slightly between 2012 and 2019. Anemia’s complexity arises from various causes, including nutritional deficiencies, infections (such as malaria and HIV), inherited blood disorders, and factors related to women’s reproductive biology.

New Strategies Needed to Combat Widespread Anemia, Especially in Women

Researchers analyzed iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA)–common health issues affecting two billion people worldwide, particularly prevalent among women of reproductive age. Traditional treatment has relied on oral iron supplementation, which often yields less-than-ideal results, and there is a growing concern about the number of babies born with ID due to inadequate maternal iron levels.

Disparities in Iron Deficiency Treatment Among Women

In a collaborative fireside chat by the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) and Shield Therapeutics, experts Dr. Wendy Wright and Dr. Lisa Gittens-Williams addressed the diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in women, emphasizing the existing disparities in care.

When Iron Deficiency is Overlooked in Women

Researchers of a recent study delve into the historical context of iron deficiency anaemia, particularly its association with women’s health issues and the evolution of treatments over time. Despite its prevalence, iron deficiency in women is often overlooked, with heavy menstrual bleeding being a significant contributor.

Prevalence of Iron Deficiency in Women

In a recent study, researchers examined the prevalence of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia among nonpregnant females aged 12 to 21 years. The study highlights a high prevalence of iron within this age range, with certain demographic factors influencing the risk. It suggests the need for targeted screening and intervention strategies in this population.

Iron Deficiency in Women and Obesity

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data indicate that women with obesity have disrupted iron metabolism, evidenced by various biomarkers. They exhibit higher iron deficiency and diminished erythropoiesis than normal-weight women. The study highlights how classification models for iron deficiency affect prevalence estimates in obese populations. It calls for more research to examine how iron levels and deficiency change with increasing BMI, particularly in severe obesity cases (BMI over 30 kg/m^2).