We conducted a prospective study to assess the prevalence and clinical characteristics of anemia and to define the risk factors for anemia in older Koreans. From October 2002 to November 2002, 1,254 subjects over the age of 60 years were selected from a cross-sectional study. All subjects underwent a complete medical history taking and laboratory testing, which included; a complete blood cell count, reticulocyte, liver and renal function tests, lipid profiles, and iron profiles. The median age was 70 years old (range, 60-95 years). The mean levels of hemoglobin (mean ± SD) were 14.5 ± 1.4 g/dL in men and 13.0 ± 1.1 g/dL in women, and the overall prevalence of anemia was 13.6% (171/1,254): 9.9% (27/273) in men and 14.7% (144/981) in women. We found that the prevalence of anemia differed significantly between those of age 60-69 and 70-79 years (P < 0.0001), those of age 60-69 and ≥80 (P < 0.0001), and those of age 70-79 and ≥80 (P = 0.0474). Hemoglobin levels were significantly lower in subjects ≥80 years old. By logistic regression testing, female sex, old age, lower albumin level, higher creatinine level, and lower body mass index were identified as independent risk factors of anemia in elderly Koreans. In conclusion, the overall prevalence of anemia in our study group was 13.6% (171/1,254), and this increased with age.
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