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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 1990 Feb;50(1):77-83.

Serum ferritin and iron status in a population of 'healthy' 85-year-old individuals.

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Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Gentofte Hospital, Hellerup, Denmark.


Iron status, including S-ferritin, S-iron, S-total iron binding capacity (TIBC), TIBC saturation, haemoglobin (Hb) and dietary iron intake, was assessed in a population study comprising 92 healthy 85-year-old subjects (32 males, 60 females). S-iron, S-TIBC, TIBC saturation and S-ferritin values were not significantly different in the two sexes. Males had a geometric mean S-ferritin of 130 micrograms/l, females of 98 micrograms/l. Ferritin levels less than 15 micrograms/l (i.e. depleted iron stores) were found in one female (1.6%); and in one male (3.1%), who in addition had iron deficiency anaemia. None of the females displayed latent iron deficiency (i.e. S-ferritin less than 15 micrograms/l and S-TIBC saturation less than 15%) or iron deficiency anaemia. Arithmetic mean Hb was 145 +/- 13 (SD) g/l (9.0 +/- 0.8 mmol/l) in males and 139 +/- 11 g/l (8.6 +/- 0.7 mmol/l) in females (p less than 0.02). Median nutritional iron intake was 10 mg/day (range 3-17), higher in males (median 12) than in females (median 9) (p less than 0.0001). Iron intake showed significant correlations to S-iron, S-TIBC and TIBC saturation, but not to S-ferritin.

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