Who Is Most at Risk for Anemia: Age, Race, Ethnicity and Gender
There has been debate on which types of people have anemia and whether certain ages, races, and genders are more or less susceptible to anemia due to their genetic disposition. While there is some truth to these stereotypes, absolutely anyone can develop iron deficiency anemia during one’s lifetime.
This is why it’s important to understand the risk factors and treatment options, no matter who you are, how you identify yourself, or where you live.
The purpose of this article is to explore the presence and prevalence of anemia among the various age, racial, ethnic, and gender groups that exist in our world today.
Comparing Age Groups
Babies are often at risk of developing anemia because of a lack of iron in their diets during the first year of life. Those at a heightened risk include infants who were born pre-term, fed only breast milk, or given formula that is not fortified with iron. Toddlers who drink an excess amount of cow’s milk without getting other nutrients through solid foods may also be at risk of developing anemia.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, older adults who are at least 65 years old also commonly develop anemia. The causes of anemia in the elderly range from chronic inflammatory disease to renal disease and nutritional deficiencies.
Comparing Racial and Ethnic Groups
It can be very interesting to study how anemia affects the various racial and ethnic groups around the world differently. To begin, certain types of anemia run in families, such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.
In research involving women, it has been found that African-American and Hispanic women are more likely to have anemia when compared to Caucasian women. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the prevalence of anemia in Caucasians is approximately 3.3 percent, while the prevalence among African Americans was 24.4 percent and among Mexican Americans 8.7 percent.
It is a commonly held belief that women are anemic far more often than men. Women who are pregnant experience increases in the amount of blood in their body, whereas the number of red blood cells produced cannot keep up.
Meanwhile, a significant percentage of pre-menopausal women under the age of 49 are also iron deficient, regardless of pregnancy history. However, men of any age who are athletes, who don’t eat meat because they are vegetarians and vegans, or who have certain chronic conditions are just as likely to develop anemia during their lifetimes.
How Anemia is Commonly Treated
But regardless of genetics and heredity, the common treatment options for anemia are largely the same. One of the most recommended, effective, affordable, and easiest ways to treat iron deficiency anemia is with iron supplementation. High potency iron supplements like Fergon help individuals of all backgrounds with a healthy dose of iron that’s easy to digest and very effective in replenishing iron in a quick and targeted way.
However, other types of anemia require different treatments. Vitamin deficiency anemias may require additional intake of vitamin B12 or folic acid, while chronic disease anemia requires a focus on the underlying condition. An accurate diagnosis is needed to determine the most appropriate method of treatment and whether a lack of iron in the body is to blame for anemia symptoms.
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