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      Prevalence, Comorbidity and Investigation of Anemia in the Primary Care Office

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          Anemia has a myriad of causes and its prevalence is growing. Anemia is associated with increased all-cause hospitalization and mortality in community-dwelling individuals above age 65 years. Our aim was to determine the prevalence and severity of anemia in adult patients in our primary care office and to determine the relationship between anemia and medical comorbidities.


          Electronic medical records of 499 adult patients in our suburban internal medicine office were reviewed who had had at least one hemoglobin value and did not undergo moderate to high-risk surgery in the preceding 30 days.


          About one-fifth (21.1%) of the patients had anemia. The mean age of patients with anemia was 62.6 years. Among all patients with anemia, 20.3% were males and 79.6% were females. Of these patients, 60.1% had mild anemia (hemoglobin 11 - 12.9 g/dL) and 39.8% had moderate anemia (hemoglobin 8 - 10.9 g/dL). For every year of increase in age, there was 1.8% increased odds of having anemia. African-American race had 5.2 times greater odds of having anemia than the Caucasian race. Hispanic race had 3.2 times greater odds of having anemia compared to the Caucasian race. Patients with anemia had a greater average number of comorbidities compared to patients without anemia (1.74 and 0.96, respectively; P < 0.05). There was a statistically greater percentage of patients with essential hypertension, hypothyroidism, chronic kidney disease, malignancy, rheumatologic disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease in the anemic population as compared to the non-anemic population. Of the patients, 41% with mild anemia and 62% with moderate anemia underwent additional diagnostic studies. Of the patients, 14.8% had resolution of anemia without therapy in 1 year, 15.7% were on iron replacement therapy, and 6.5% were on cobalamin therapy. No specific etiology of anemia was found in 24% of patients.


          A higher prevalence of anemia was associated with advancing age, African-American and Hispanic ethnicity, and comorbidities, such as essential hypertension, hypothyroidism, chronic kidney disease, malignancy, rheumatologic disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease. It is important to be aware of the demographic factors and their relationship to anemia in primary care.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Prevalence of anemia in persons 65 years and older in the United States: evidence for a high rate of unexplained anemia.

          Clinicians frequently identify anemia in their older patients, but national data on the prevalence and causes of anemia in this population in the United States have been unavailable. Data presented here are from the noninstitutionalized US population assessed in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994). Anemia was defined by World Health Organization criteria; causes of anemia included iron, folate, and B(12) deficiencies, renal insufficiency, anemia of chronic inflammation (ACI), formerly termed anemia of chronic disease, and unexplained anemia (UA). ACI by definition required normal iron stores with low circulating iron (less than 60 microg/dL). After age 50 years, anemia prevalence rates rose rapidly, to a rate greater than 20% at age 85 and older. Overall, 11.0% of men and 10.2% of women 65 years and older were anemic. Of older persons with anemia, evidence of nutrient deficiency was present in one third, ACI or chronic renal disease or both was present in one third, and UA was present in one third. Most occurrences of anemia were mild; 2.8% of women and 1.6% of men had hemoglobin levels lower than 110 g/L (11 g/dL). Therefore, anemia is common, albeit not severe, in the older population, and a substantial proportion of anemia is of indeterminate cause. The impact of anemia on quality of life, recovery from illness, and functional abilities must be further investigated in older persons.
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            Hemoglobin level, chronic kidney disease, and the risks of death and hospitalization in adults with chronic heart failure: the Anemia in Chronic Heart Failure: Outcomes and Resource Utilization (ANCHOR) Study.

            Previous studies have associated reduced hemoglobin levels with increased adverse events in heart failure. It is unclear, however, whether this relation is explained by underlying kidney disease, treatment differences, or associated comorbidity. We examined the associations between hemoglobin level, kidney function, and risks of death and hospitalization in persons with chronic heart failure between 1996 and 2002 within a large, integrated, healthcare delivery system in northern California. Longitudinal outpatient hemoglobin and creatinine levels and clinical and treatment characteristics were obtained from health plan records. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR; mL.min(-1).1.73 m(-2)) was estimated from the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation. Mortality data were obtained from state death files; heart failure admissions were identified by primary discharge diagnoses. Among 59,772 adults with heart failure, the mean age was 72 years and 46% were women. Compared with that for hemoglobin levels of 13.0 to 13.9 g/dL, the multivariable-adjusted risk of death increased with lower hemoglobin levels: an adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 1.16 and 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.11 to 1.21 for hemoglobin levels of 12.0 to 12.9 g/dL; HR, 1.50 and 95% CI, 1.44 to 1.57 for 11.0 to 11.9 g/dL; HR, 1.89 and 95% CI, 1.80 to 1.98 for 10.0 to 10.9; HR, 2.31 and 95% CI, 2.18 to 2.45 for 9.0 to 9.9; and HR, 3.48 and 95% CI, 3.25 to 3.73 for or = 17.0 g/dL were associated with an increased risk of death (adjusted HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.24 to 1.63). Compared with those with a GFR > or = 60 mL . min(-1).1.73 m(-2), persons with a GFR or = 17 g/dL) or reduced (<13 g/dL) hemoglobin levels and chronic kidney disease independently predict substantially increased risks of death and hospitalization in heart failure, regardless of the level of systolic function. Randomized trials are needed to evaluate whether raising hemoglobin levels can improve outcomes in chronic heart failure.
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              Anemia is associated with disability and decreased physical performance and muscle strength in the elderly.

              To examine the association between anemia and disability, physical performance, and muscle strength in older persons. Cross-sectional. Community-dwelling older persons in the Chianti area in Italy. A total of 1,156 persons aged 65 and older participating in the InChianti Study ("Invecchiare in Chianti," i.e., Aging in the Chianti Area). Anemia was defined according to World Health Organization criteria as a hemoglobin concentration below 12 g/dL in women and below 13 g/dL in men. Disability in six basic and eight instrumental activities of daily living was assessed. Physical performance was assessed using the short physical performance battery (4-m walk, balance, and chair stands), which yields a summary performance score ranging from 0 to 12 (high). Muscle strength was determined using knee extensor and handgrip strength assessments. Overall, 11.1% of the men and 11.5% of the women had anemia. After adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, Mini-Mental State Examination score, creatinine level, and presence of various comorbid conditions, anemic persons had more disabilities (1.71 vs 1.04, P=.002) and poorer performance (8.8 vs 9.6, P=.003) than persons without anemia. Anemic persons also had significantly lower knee extensor strength (14.1 vs 15.2 kg, P=.02) and lower handgrip strength (25.3 vs 27.1 kg, P=.04) than persons without anemia. Further adjustment for inflammatory markers (interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha) did not change these associations. Anemia is associated with disability, poorer physical performance, and lower muscle strength. Further research should explore whether treating anemia has a beneficial effect on the functional status of older persons.

                Author and article information

                J Clin Med Res
                J Clin Med Res
                Elmer Press
                Journal of Clinical Medicine Research
                Elmer Press
                December 2017
                6 November 2017
                : 9
                : 12
                : 970-980
                [a ]Department of Medicine, Cooper University Hospital, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, NJ, USA
                [b ]Cooper Research Institute, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, NJ, USA
                Author notes
                [c ]Corresponding Author: Satyajeet Roy, Department of Medicine, Cooper University Hospital, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, 1103 North Kings Highway, Suite 203, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034, USA. Email: roy-satyajeet@
                Copyright 2017, Gandhi et al.

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Article


                anemia, primary care, racial differences in anemia


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