Anemia in the Elderly a Potential Dementia Risk Factor

By: Sue Hughes @ Medscape

Anemia in the Elderly a Potential Dementia Risk FactorAmong older adults, anemia is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia, a new study shows.

“We found that if there was anemia at baseline, the risk of dementia was increased by about 60%. This was slightly reduced after adjusting for other factors. But there was still a 40-50% increase in risk which was still quite significant. Anemia is of course a marker of general frailty, which will also correlate with dementia but we tried to control for this,” senior author, Kristine Yaffe, MD, University of California San Francisco, told Medscape Medical News.

She acknowledged that this is not enough evidence to say that correcting anemia will reduce the risk for dementia.

“We need another study where the anemia is treated to make this claim, but we could say that this is another reason to check for anemia more often in older people and to treat it.”

“I am not suggesting that these results should prompt people to rush out and start taking large doses of iron. If they want to rush out and do anything they should make sure they have an annual check up and get their hemoglobin measured, and if it is low get it corrected, under medical supervision,” Dr. Yaffe added.

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