Folate status and folate related anemia: a comparative cross-sectional study of long-term care and post-acute care psychogeriatric patients.Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2004 Sep-Oct; 39(2):133-42.AG
Aging is associated with increased risk of anemia, poor nutrition, chronic illness, and impaired folate status. We aimed to investigate and compare folate status in long-term care psychogeriatric patients (LTCPP) and in post-acute care psychogeriatric patients (PACPP). This is a cross-sectional study conducted in a psychogeriatric medical center with long-term care and post-acute care wards. A total number of 553 LTCPP and 373 PACPP were studied. Low serum folic acid levels were found in 10% of LTCPP and in 13% of PACPP. Folic acid anemia (FAA) was found in 67% of LTCPP and 87% of PACPP (P = 0.046) with low serum folate levels. Mean levels of serum folate were similar but red blood cells folate (RBC-folate) was higher in PACPP (P = 0.025) and in males compared with women (P = 0.009). 56% of PACPP and 68% of LTCPP who had folic acid anemia presented with another type of anemia. Anemia of chronic disease was the most frequent coexisting anemia and was found in 65% of LTCPP and 52% of PACPP, followed by B12 deficiency anemia and iron deficiency anemia. We conclude that PACPP represent only a slightly different group, compared with LTCPP, with regard to the folate status. These high rates of folate and RBC-folate deficiencies, as well as of FAA and coexisting anemia, call for a routine evaluation of folate status in all psychogeriatric patients, whether LTCPP or PACPP.