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Iron Deficiency Worldwide

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Iron deficiency is estimated to affect more than two billion people worldwide and is the most common cause of anemia.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study from 2019, more than 50% of cases were deemed to be secondary to iron deficiency, with the following prevalence of anemia:  (1)

23% of the entire population 

40% children less than 5 years of age

30% of women of productive age

Burden of Anemia and Underlying Causes

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Suboptimal Evaluation & Treatment

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Despite the high prevalence of iron deficiency, there is evidence that anemia does not get adequately investigated and treatment is often not provided.

Moreover, there is evidence that iron deficiency evaluation during prenatal care in pregnancy is suboptimal, with approximately 40% of pregnant females not having proper iron deficiency screening performed, and for those who did have ferritin testing, approximately 70% were ordered in the first trimester, when the risk of iron deficiency is lowest. (5)

In another study conducted in Ontario, Canada, more than 75% of pregnant females who had a ferritin level checked were found to have iron deficiency. (6)

Evidence also suggests that women with iron deficiency or anemia in pregnancy have an increased risk of peripartum transfusions (7), and toolkits with educational resources can decrease the incidence of anemia and red blood cell transfusions requirement during pregnancy. (8)

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Learning Outcomes

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The aim of this website is to provide practical and evidence-based knowledge on the management of iron deficiency and anemia.

Topics that will be covered include iron physiology, pathophysiology of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and considerations for special populations.

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