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Iron Deficiency May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Absolute iron deficiency occurs when the body does not have enough iron stored. Functional iron deficiency occurs when there is sufficient iron stores in the body but insufficient iron availability. A new study has found that absolute and functional iron deficiency are associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease. 

Participants in the study included 12,164 adults with an average age of 59. The researchers evaluated several cardiovascular risk factors at baseline, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol levels. Iron levels were measured and participants were classified as having absolute iron deficiency, functional iron deficiency, or having sufficient iron. Participants were followed for 18 years and all incidences of heart disease were recorded.

Participants who had functional iron deficiency at baseline had a 24% increased risk of coronary heart disease, a 26% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 12% increased risk of all-cause mortality. Participants with absolute iron deficiency had a 20% increased risk of coronary heart disease.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University Heart and Vascular Center Hamburg. The study was published online ahead of print on October 5, 2021 in the journal ESC Heart Fail.

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