Anaemia in older adults is a global medical issue because of its high prevalence rate and associated mortality and morbidity. Anaemia has been found in the range of 8-44% with the highest occurrence in men who are 85 years and older. A WHO study saw the prevalence of anaemia as 11% in men and 10.2% in women of the age of 65 years and older.

There are different types of anaemia. Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the most common type of anaemia found in older adults while anaemia of chronic disease (ACD) is quite common too. 83.3% of the older adults suffering from anaemia have IDA, while ACD occurs in 10% of the older adults with anaemia.

Also Read: 5 Foods to Treat Anaemia in Older Adults

Anaemia in older adults is associated with poor physical performance, increased frailty, dementia, depression, reduced mobility, increased risk of falls and poor quality of life. If a senior already has another health condition like heart disorders or other chronic illnesses, anaemia worsens the condition.

Here are the basic differences between the two most common forms of anaemia:

Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA)

Anaemia of Chronic Disease (ACD)

Caused due to iron deficiency from blood loss. Improper absorption might also be a cause of IDA.ACD is caused due to multiple factors. Usually caused by a chronic inflammatory disease, autoimmune disease, kidney disease or cancer.
Symptoms are non-specific.Symptoms are specific (low immature RBC count or low full-sized RBC count).
Symptoms: Pallor, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, restless leg syndrome. Other symptoms may include glossitis and concave nails. In severe cases, the older adult might have a strong craving to eat particular things like dirt or paint.Symptoms: No specific symptoms other than that of the underlying disorder (infection, inflammation or cancer)
Treatment: Iron replacement and treatment of blood loss.Treatment: Treating and reversal of underlying condition or hormonal treatment.


Treatment of geriatric anaemia (anaemia in older adults) has shown a major improvement in the lifestyle of the person suffering from it. An effort to reach out to the older adults suffering from anaemia is continuously underfoot to improve their quality of life.

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