Facts about iron deficiency and anaemia

The facts

  • #Anaemia is a top 10 disability in the world as defined by WHO
  • It affects 10-15% of people in the high income countries
  • It affects 40% of people in low income countries

The commonest cause is #IronDeficiency, this is due to poor diet, or in #women due to the blood loss from the #menstrual cycle.

In Europe:-

  • I n 10 women have iron deficiency #anaemia
  • I in 5 women have heavy menstrual bleeding, this means about 1L per year. 50% of these women have iron deficiency.
  • Also – Women are 3x more likely than men to be vegetarian (most iron is in meat)

Iron deficiency causes many symptoms

  • 15% of women treated for iron deficiency have previously been treated for #depression (ID cause tiredness, inability to cope, poor cognition, #brainfog etc)
  • 15% of all GP consultations by women are for tiredness and fatigue

Iron tablets are one of the most prescribed drug in the UK

  • About 20-30% of women stop taking the tablets due to side effects of abdominal pain or constipation.
  • 25% of all emergency #gynaecology admission in the UK are due to Iron deficiency anaemia due to excess menstrual loss.
  • This costs the NHS £7.6 million per annum
  • 30% of all patients admitted to hospital have anaemia at admission. These patients spend longer in hospital and twice as likely to die following admission
  • You can treat #irondeficiency in 15 minutes with an #ironinfusion




Author: Professor Toby Richards

Mr Toby Richards is a Professor of Surgery at University College London. He has pioneered anaemia management and intravenous iron therapy in the UK. His underlying belief is that optimising patient’s health and fitness before surgery will improve their recovery and benefit their outcomes. He has embedded clinical research and development into all areas of practice.

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