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New report illustrates persistent global burden of anemia among high-risk populations
Date:12/2/2013

(WASHINGTON, December 2, 2013) Despite increasing efforts to diagnose and treat anemia worldwide, there remains a surprisingly large global burden of the disease, particularly among young children and women, according to a new report on trends in anemia between 1990 and 2010. The report was published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Anemia is a complex condition characterized by a low level of hemoglobin, the protein that binds to oxygen in the lungs and carries it to all parts of the body. A low level of hemoglobin leads to impaired delivery of oxygen to the body and causes symptoms including weakness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Symptoms of anemia in children may include impaired mental or motor development.

Historical estimates on the global prevalence of anemia vary widely based on either inconsistent data or the incorrect assumption that anemia is always caused by iron deficiency. Disease prevalence is consistently higher in individuals of low socioeconomic status, those considered to be underweight, and females who have recently given birth. Some estimates suggest that as many as 50-80 percent of individuals in these high-risk populations may have some degree of anemia.

"While we know that anemia is highly prevalent, it has been difficult to quantify the true global burden of this disease without over-counting or duplicating occurrences based on the range of likely causes," said lead study author Nicholas Kassebaum, MD, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. "In addition, previous studies have been geographically limited and have lacked detail about the disease's severity
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Contact: Amanda Szabo
aszabo@hematology.org
202-552-4914
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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