Anemia in Geriatrics

Evaluating the Etiologic Cause and Optimal Treatment of Geriatric Anemia in the Primary Care Setting: A Case-Based Study


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Learning Objectives:

As a result of this activity, the learner will be able to
  • Differentiate among the etiological causes of anemia seen in geriatric patients
  • Develop appropriate workup of elderly patients diagnosed with symptomatic anemia or anemia detected by incidental blood testing
  • Manage elderly patients with anemia due to nutritional deficiency, blood loss, renal failure, or suspected myelodysplasia (including appropriate referral to a specialist)


Anemia is a very common problem in the elderly, making this clinical finding a growing concern as the proportion of older individuals in the US population continues to increase. According to current US Census Bureau projections, by 2030 there will be approximately 114.1 million Americans aged 65 years and older representing nearly 25% of the total population. By 2050, that number is anticipated to reach 156 million, more than double the estimated current population of 64.7 million persons older than 65 years.[1] The current life expectancies of 65-year-old individuals in the United States are 17 years for men and 20 years for women; this relatively lengthy lifespan argues in favor of aggressive evaluation and therapy of treatable conditions in older people.[2]

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