Data supporting the need for better recognition of iron deficiency will be presented this week at the United European Gastroenterology Week Congress in Berlin. Iron deficiency is frequently under-diagnosed, resulting in increased hospitalisation, reduced quality of life and higher death rates in patients with comorbid conditions. The WHO has estimated that iron deficiency causes the loss of 48,225 disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) worldwide, more than is seen with lung cancer.
To improve awareness and availability of information relating to the importance of iron deficiency, the Iron Therapy.org website (www.irontherapy.org) was set up by a group of global experts in the field. Iron Therapy.org includes the latest news in iron deficiency from across a range of therapeutic areas, as well as features from renowned international experts and footage of leading scientists discussing their latest research and its significance. Also available is the 'Essentials' section, consolidating background information for those who are new to the area of iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world and the leading cause of anaemia. It is prevalent in many chronic diseases, including in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, heart failure and kidney disease. Better recognition of the disorder is essential if patient outcomes are to improve.
Although they frequently occur together, iron deficiency and anaemia are independent disorders. The absence of anaemia does not rule out iron deficiency, and vice versa. However, if iron deficiency is left to advance to anaemia, it is harder to treat and associated with even worse outcomes; recent research indicates that treating iron deficiency early on, before progression to anaemia, reduces mortality in comorbid conditions.