Anemia is prevalent in men and women over the age of 65 years and becomes progressively more common with age. Anemia is associated with reductions in functional capacity and quality of life, as well an increased risk of death from all causes. Roughly one third of anemia in older patients is unexplained (UAA). Although the WHO diagnostic thresholds for anemia are most frequently used, evidence supports the use of a single criterion of Hb < 13 g/dl in both older men and postmenopausal women. Even mild anemia (Hb 11.0–12.9) is associated with poor clinical outcomes, lower QOL, and elevated mortality. Although UAA is currently diagnosed by exclusion of identifiable causes for anemia, the diagnostic criteria for UAA are clearly defined, and the UAA patient population experiences significant functional decline, morbidity, and mortality. In part due to the lack of consensus on the etiology of UAA, treatment options are extremely limited at present. Novel therapies are currently in development for the treatment of this highly prevalent condition. Finally, we strongly recommend routine assessment of functional capacity and quality of life in all older patients by healthcare providers, particularly those suffering from anemia, using standardized tools that will help to identify functional deficits and changes in functional capacity in older patients with anemia.
BioAge Labs, Inc
This manuscript resulted from a meeting on the topic of Anemia and Aging funded with hon oraria provided by BioAge Labs, Inc.
BioAge Labs provided honoraria to some of the co-authors to participate in a virtual meeting to discuss the topic of unexplained anemia of aging. The review was written and approved by the authors. BioAge Labs was provided a copy of the manuscript prior to submission for review.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022;70(3):891-899. © 2022 Blackwell Publishing