Prevalence and characteristics of anemia associated with thyroid disorders in non-pregnant Saudi women during the childbearing age: A cross-sectional study

Biomed J. 2015 Jul-Aug;38(4):307-16. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.151032.


Background: Little is known about the prevalence of thyroid disorders and their associated anemia in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The aim of the current study was to measure the prevalence and types of thyroid disorders and their relationship with anemia frequency and types in non-pregnant Saudi females during the childbearing age.

Methods: Blood samples were collected from 600 non-pregnant females (between ≥18 and ≤45 years) with no history of thyroid dysfunction, chronic diseases, and/or anemia to measure serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free T4, erythrocyte indices, and iron parameters.

Results: Thyroid disorders were detected in 118 participants (19.6%), and occult hypothyroidism was the most prevalent type (70/118) followed by overt hypothyroidism (38/118) and hyperthyroidism (10/118). Anemia was detected in 52 females with abnormal thyroid (44%) and the prevalence was significantly higher (p < 0.05) compared to euthyroid (14.3%). The red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin, hematocrit value, serum iron, and serum ferritin were significantly lower in thyroid disorder compared to euthyroid group (p < 0.05). Erythrocyte indices correlated significantly with serum free T4, while iron parameters correlated with serum TSH (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Thyroid disorders are common in non-pregnant females in the Western province of Saudi Arabia, and they are associated with an increase in the prevalence of both anemia and iron deficiency. Further studies are needed to determine the underlying mechanism (s) contributing to the development of thyroiditis-induced anemia in the kingdom and the role of thyroid hormones in iron metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Thyroid Diseases / complications*
  • Thyroid Diseases / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Gland / metabolism
  • Thyrotropin / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • Thyrotropin
  • Iron