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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 1986 Feb;46(1):19-26.

Serum ferritin and iron status in 'healthy' elderly individuals.


Iron status, including S-ferritin, S-iron, S-transferrin, transferrin saturation and haemoglobin, was assessed in 267 selected elderly subjects (128 male, 139 female) with a median age of 79 years (range 60-93 years) not suffering from diseases connected with inappropriately high S-ferritin. In both sexes, S-ferritin levels were practically constant over the examined age range. Males had a geometric mean ferritin of 75 micrograms/l and females a value of 60 micrograms/l (p less than 0.001). Levels of S-ferritin less than 15 micrograms/l (i.e. depleted iron stores) were found in 7.8% of males and in 10.1% of females. An S-ferritin level less than 15 micrograms/l and transferrin saturation less than 15% (i.e. latent iron deficiency) was observed in 2.3% of males and in 2.2% of females. None had iron deficiency anaemia. In subjects (n = 232) without iron deficiency [i.e. S-ferritin greater than or equal to 15 micrograms/l, mean red cell volume greater than or equal to 79 fl and haemoglobin greater than or equal to 121 g/l (7.5 mmol/l)], the arithmetic mean of S-iron was 18 mumol/l. S-transferrin 28 mumol/l and transferrin saturation 33%. The levels of S-iron, S-transferrin and transferrin saturation were not significantly different in males and females.

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