Functional outcomes of anemia in older adults

Semin Hematol. 2008 Oct;45(4):255-60. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2008.06.005.


Observational studies have consistently documented independent, strong associations of anemia--even if not severe--with major adverse functional outcomes in older adults. In this chapter, recent epidemiologic evidence linking mild anemia with decline in physical and cognitive function, frailty, and disability in community-dwelling older adults is reviewed. Altogether, these biologically plausible associations provide empirical, though not conclusive, support for the notion of mild anemia as a cause of adverse functional outcomes in older adults. Randomized clinical trial data assessing the impact of anemia correction on functional outcomes are lacking at this time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Anemia / complications*
  • Anemia / drug therapy
  • Cognition
  • Epoetin Alfa
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Hematinics / therapeutic use
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness
  • Recombinant Proteins


  • Hematinics
  • Hemoglobins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Epoetin Alfa