Iron status in Danes updated 1994. I: Prevalence of iron deficiency and iron overload in 1332 men aged 40–70 years. Influence of blood donation, alcohol intake, and iron supplementation
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Iron status, S-ferritin, and hemoglobin (Hb) were assessed in a population survey in 1994 (DAN-MONICA 10) comprising 1332 Caucasian Danish men equally distributed in age cohorts of 40, 50, 60 and 70 years. Blood donors (n=186) had lower S-ferritin, median 76 μg/l, than nondonors, median 169 μg/l (p<0.0001). S-ferritin in donors was inversely correlated with the number of phlebotomies (rs=–0.57, p<0.0001). S-ferritin in nondonors (n=1146) was similar in men 40–60 years of age, median 176 μg/l, and subsequently decreased at 70 years of age to a median of 146 μg/l (p=0.01). In the entire series, the prevalence of small iron stores (S-ferritin 16–32 μg/l) was 2.7%, that of depleted iron stores (S-ferritin <16 μg/l) 0.45%, and that of iron deficiency anemia (S-ferritin <13 μg/l and Hb <129 g/l) 0.15%. Among nondonors, the prevalence of iron overload (S-ferritin >300 μg/l) was 20%. S-ferritin in nondonors correlated with body mass index (rs=0.19, p=0.0001) and with alcohol intake (rs=0.26, p=0.0001). In the entire series, 28% of the subjects took supplemental iron (median 14 mg ferrous iron daily). Iron supplements had no influence on iron status. Nondonors (n=170) treated with acetylsalicylic acid had lower S-ferritin, median 136 μg/l, than nontreated, median 169 μg/l (p<0.001) and those treated with H2-receptor antagonists (n=30) had lower S-ferritin, median 142 μg/l, than nontreated, median 171 μg/l (p<0.04). Compared with the DAN-MONICA 1 iron status survey of Danish men in 1984, the prevalences of iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia are unchanged whereas the prevalence of iron overload has increased significantly. In Denmark, iron fortification of flour was abolished in 1987. This apparently had no negative effect on iron status in men.
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