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Iron deficiency in middle age linked with risk of developing heart disease: Study

The study found that approximately 10 percent of new cases of coronary heart disease that occur during mid-decade can be avoided by preventing iron deficiency.

The results of the study were published in the ESC Heart Failure journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

“This was an observational study and we cannot conclude that iron deficiency causes heart disease,” said study author Dr. Benedict Schrage of the University Heart and Vascular Center Hamburg, Germany.

“However, there is growing evidence that there is a link, and these results serve as the basis for further research to confirm the results,” added Dr. Schrage.

Previous studies have shown that in patients with cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, iron deficiency was associated with worse outcomes, including hospitalization and death. Intravenous iron treatment improved symptoms, functional ability and quality of life in patients with heart failure and iron deficiency included in the FAIR-HF study. Based on these results, the FAIR-HF 2 study investigates the effect of intravenous iron supplementation on the risk of death in patients with heart failure.

The present study aimed to investigate whether there was an association between iron deficiency and outcomes in the general population.

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The study included 12,164 people from three European population cohorts. The median age was 59 and 55 percent were women. At the baseline study visit, risk factors for cardiovascular disease and comorbidities such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol were assessed through rigorous clinical evaluation, including blood samples.

Participants were classified as participants with or without iron deficiency according to two definitions: 1) absolute iron deficiency, which includes only stored iron (ferritin); and 2) functional iron deficiency, which includes stored iron (ferritin) and circulating iron for use by the body (transferrin).

Dr. Schrage explained: “Absolute iron deficiency is a traditional way of assessing iron status, but it does not take into account circulating iron. The functional definition is more accurate because it includes both measures and takes into account those that have sufficient reserves, but not circulate enough for the body to function. properly.”

The participants observed cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, death from cardiovascular disease and death from all causes. The researchers analyzed the association between iron deficiency and coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality after adjusting for age, gender, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, body mass index, and inflammation. Participants with a history of coronary artery disease or stroke at baseline were excluded from the incident analysis.

Initially, 60% of the participants had an absolute iron deficiency and 64% had a functional iron deficiency. During an average follow-up period of 13.3 years, 2,212 (18.2 percent) deaths were recorded. Of these, 573 people (4.7 percent) died from cardiovascular diseases. The incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke was diagnosed in 1,033 (8.5%) and 766 (6.3%) participants, respectively.

Functional iron deficiency was associated with a 24% increased risk of coronary heart disease, a 26% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 12% increased risk of all-cause mortality, compared with no functional iron deficiency.

Absolute iron deficiency was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease compared with no absolute iron deficiency, but was not associated with mortality. There was no association between iron status and stroke.

The researchers calculated a relative proportion of the population that estimates the proportion of events over 10 years that could have been avoided if all people were at risk of those who did not have iron deficiency at baseline.

The models were adjusted for age, sex, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, body mass index, and inflammation. Over a 10-year period, 5.4% of all deaths, 11.7% of deaths from cardiovascular disease and 10.7% of new diagnoses of coronary heart disease were associated with functional iron deficiency.

“This analysis shows that if iron deficiency were absent at baseline, about 5% of deaths, 12% of deaths from cardiovascular disease and 11% of new diagnoses of coronary heart disease would not occur within the next decade,” said Dr. Schrage.

“The study found that iron deficiency is widespread in the middle-aged population, with nearly two-thirds having functional iron deficiency,” said Dr. Schrage.

“These people are more likely to develop heart disease, as well as the likelihood of dying within the next 13 years,” added Dr. Schrage.

Dr Schrage noted that future research should examine these associations in younger and non-European cohorts.

“If the relationship is confirmed, the next step will be a randomized study examining the impact of iron deficiency treatment on the general population,” concluded Dr. Schrage.

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This story was published from the news agency tape without text changes. Only the title has changed.



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