Functional Capacity and Anemia in the Community Elderly
Advances in Aging Research
Anemia in the elderly population has been associated to clinical manifestations such as functional dependence, low cognitive performance, increased mortality and geriatric syndromes (dementia, delirium, depression and falls). Recent investigations have shown an association between low hemoglobin levels, reduction in muscular strength and physical fitness. The objective of this review was to identify, in the scientific literature, evidence of an association between anemia and functional capacity
... functional capacity among older persons. PubMed and Bireme were used as references source. The most relevant evidence pointing towards this association was identified in the epidemiological studies Women's Health and Aging Studies I and II (WHAS I and II). Functional capacity was evaluated by the walking, balance and sitting back and getting out of the chair tests. Elderly women with either 13 or 14 g/dl have a better performance compared to women with 12 g/dl of hemoglobin, respectively. This study also reported an increase in the mortality risk among women (65 years old and plus) living in community with less than 13.4 g/dl of hemoglobin. Participants were followed for 11 years. WHAS I and II investigators suggested a new criterion, already adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO), to define anemia among elderly women. Conclusion: anemia is common among the elderly and may have an involvement in the impairment of their functional capacity. However, in spite of the importance of these findings, it should be emphasized that an etiologic association (anemia as a cause of functional impairment) has yet to be demonstrated.