Annals of Hematology

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 22–27

Iron stores in 1359, 30- to 60-year-old Danish women: Evaluation by serum ferritin and hemoglobin

  • N. Milman
  • M. Kirchhoff
Original Article


Iron status, including serum (S-)ferritin and hemoglobin (Hb), was assessed in a population survey comprising 1359 nonpregnant Danish women in age cohorts of 30, 40, 50, and 60 years. S-ferritin levels were similar in 30- and 40-year-old women; they displayed a significant increase in 50-year-old women and a further significant increase in 60-year-old women. In the 30- and 40-year-old women, median S-ferritin was 38μg/l, 5–95 percentile 6–135μg/l; 17.2% had values < 15,μg/l (i.e., depleted iron stores), 22.7% values from 15 to 30μg/l (i.e., small iron stores), and 60.1% values > 30μg/l (i.e., replete iron stores). In the 50-year-old women, median S-ferritin was 54μg/l, 5–95 percentile 10–164μg/l; 10.3% had values < 15μg/l, 16.5% values from 15 to 30μg/l, and 73.2% values > 30μg/l. For the 60-year-old women, median S-ferritin was 84μg/l, 5–95 percentile 25–249μg/l; 1.6% had values < 15μg/l, 8.6% values from 15 to 30μg/l, and 89.8% values > 30μg/l. Blood donors (n=180) had lower S-ferritin than nondonors in all age-groups (p<0.001). In the entire series, Hb levels were similar in 30- and 40-year-old women, median 137 g/l (8.5 mmol/l), 5–95 percentile 121–152 g/1 (7.5–9.4 mmol/l), and higher in 50- and 60-year-old women, median 140 g/l (8.7 mmol/l), 5–95 percentile 123-158 g/l (7.6–9.8 mmol/l) (p<0.0001). Hb values < 121 g/l (7.5 mmol/l) were observed in 3.8% of the women. Women with S-ferritin < 15 μg/l (n=161) had lower Hb, median 134 g/l (8.3 mmol/l), than those with S-ferritin > 15 μg/l, median 139 g/l (8.6 mmol/l) (p<0.001). Iron deficiency anemia (S-ferritin < 15 μg/l and Hb < 121 g/l) was seen in 2.3% of 30- and 40-year-old women, and in 1.1% of 50- and 60-year-old women.

Key words

Ferritin Hemoglobin Iron metabolism Women 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bothwell TH, Charlton RW, Cook JD, Finch CA (1979) Iron metabolism in man. Blackwell Scientific, London, pp 88–104Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cook JD, Skikne BS (1982) Serum ferritin: a possible model for the assessment of nutrient stores. Am J Clin Nutr 35: 1180–1185PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cook JD, Lipschitz DA, Miles LEM, Finch CA (1974) Serum ferritin as a measure of iron stores in normal subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 27: 681–687PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dukes PP, Goldwasser E (1961) Inhibition of erythropoiesis by estrogens. Endocrinology 69: 21–29PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hagerup L, Eriksen M, Schroll M, Hollnagel H, Agner E, Larsen S (1981) The Glostrup population studies. Collection of epidemiologic tables. Scand J Soc Med [Suppl] 20: 5–112Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hallberg L (1982) Iron nutrition and food iron fortification. Semin Hematol 19: 31–41PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jørgensen T (1987) Prevalence of gallstones in a Danish population. Am J Epidemiol 126: 912–921PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Looker A, Sempos ST, Johnson C, Yetley EA (1988) Vitamin-mineral supplement use: association with dietary intake and iron status of adults. J Am Diet Assoc 88: 808–814PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Milman N, Kirchhoff M (1991) The influence of blood donation on iron stores assessed by serum ferritin and hemoglobin in a population survey of 1359 Danish women. Ann Hematol 63: 27–32PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Milman N, Kirchhoff M (1991) Iron stores in 1433, 30- to 60-year-old Danish males. Evaluation by serum ferritin and haemoglobin. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 51: (in press)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Milman N, Pedersen NS, Visfeldt J (1983) Serum ferritin in healthy Danes: relation to bone marrow haemosiderin iron. Dan Med Bull 30: 115–120PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Milman N, Søndergaard M, Sørensen CM (1985) Iron status in female blood donors: evaluation by serum ferritin. Blut 51: 337–345PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Milman N, Ingerslev J, Graudal N (1990) Serum ferritin and iron status in a population of “healthy” 85-year-old individuals. Scand J Clin Lab Invest 50: 77–83PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Valberg LS, Sorbie J, Ludwig J, Pelletier O (1976) Serum ferritin and the iron status of Canadians. Can Med Assoc J 114: 417–421PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Walters GO, Miller FM, Worwood M (1973) Serum ferritin concentration and iron stores in normal subjects. J Clin Pathol 26: 770–772PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    World Health Organization (1972) Nutritional anaemias. Tech Rep Ser 503Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Worwood M (1980) Serum ferritin. In: Jacobs A, Worwood M (eds) Iron in biochemistry and medicine. II. Academic, London, pp 203–244Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Milman
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Kirchhoff
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pulmonary Medicine YGentofte HospitalHellerupDenmark
  2. 2.The Glostrup Population Studies, Medical Department CGlostrup HospitalCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations