Anemia and the Elderly

“Effects of anemia in the elderly include decreased strength and increased risk for falls. Anemia may have adverse effects on the heart and increase the severity of cardiac conditions, including reducing survival rates from heart failure and heart attacks. Even mild anemia may lead to cognitive impairment or worsen existing dementia” UMMC

Anemia in the Elderly


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Who Is At Risk for Anemia?

Anemia is a condition that can occur in any age group and effect anyone. Women of child bearing age and the elderly have a higher risk of anemia.

Factors that may raise your risk of anemia include:

  • A diet low in iron and other important nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that affect red blood cells and hemoglobin. 
  • Long term diseases such as kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Inherited anemia, such as thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, and hereditary spherocytosis. 
  • Blood loss caused by excessive bleeding due to injury, surgery, or a problem with the blood’s clotting ability. Or blood loss caused by intestinal bleeding. 
  • Inadequate production of red blood cells or aplastic anemia  can occurs when the bone marrow can’t make enough red blood cells. Aplastic anemia may be caused by a viral infection, or exposure to certain toxic chemicals, radiation, or medications (such as antibiotics, anti-seizure drugs, or cancer treatments).

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