Iron status of the Taiwanese elderly: the prevalence of iron deficiency and elevated iron stores.Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005; 14(3):278-84.AP
Iron status, prevalence of iron deficiency and elevated iron stores, and the effect of gastrointestinal ulceration on iron status in free-living Taiwanese elderly persons were all assessed in a nationally representative, cross-sectional nutrition survey--the Elderly NAHSIT. The survey included blood measurements of iron indices. Data were collected from 1202 elderly men and 1152 elderly women aged 65 years and older. Multiple iron measures, including serum ferritin (SF), transferrin saturation (Tsat), and hemoglobin were used to evaluate the prevalence of iron deficient erythropoiesis (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Despite no routine practice of iron fortification in Taiwan, elderly subjects had a low prevalence of ID and IDA. The prevalence of ID was 2.3% in men and 1.4% in women. The prevalence of IDA was 2.5% in men and 2.0% in women. In contrast, 15.7% of men and 9.8% of women had elevated iron stores as diagnosed by SF>300 microg/L. Subjects with a history of gastrointestinal ulceration had significantly lower serum ferritin than those without ulcers, but the prevalence of anemia, ID and IDA was unaffected. In conclusion, elderly people in Taiwan are an iron-replete population with a high prevalence of elevated iron stores and a low prevalence of iron deficiency.