To investigate the influence of functioning on unexplained senile anemia, we measured commonly used hematological parameters (serum iron, transferrin, iron saturation and ferritin) in addition to specific erythropoietic factors, such as interleukin-3 (IL-3), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and erythropoietin (EPO) in 48 elderly subjects aged 65-90 years. The subjects were divided into 3 groups: 1) 17 patients with unexplained mild anemia; 2) 17 non-anemic patients with newly acquired stroke and who previously were functionally active; 3) 14 functionally active patients with no major disease who served as controls. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin (Hb) values under 12.0 g/dL. The degree of functional ability was defined and scored by the 'functional indipendence measure' (FIM) test. Data are presented as mean values ± SD. The results revealed a correlation between the functional state and levels of Hb, iron and transferrin with unchanged iron saturation. Patients in the mild anemia group were found to be functionally declined (FIM=57±19.4) with the relatively lowest mean iron (75.1±17 μg/dL) and transferrin levels (243±42.6 μg/dL). The stroke group (FIM=62±17.7) had intermediate levels of iron (85.4±20.3 μg/dL) and transferrin (245±45.2), and with the continuation of the declined functional state the Hb level decreased significantly (13.7±0.9 to 12.0±1.0 g/dL, p<0.001). The highest mean values of iron (102±27.9 μg/dL) and transferrin (322±42.7 μg/dL) were found in the control group (FIM=122.7±5.8). The ferritin levels showed an opposite trend. IL-3 values were undetectable in the anemic and control groups, and were elevated in some patients in the stroke group. The lowest IL-6 level was observed in the anemic group, and the highest in the control group. Serial IL-6 assays in the stroke group showed an upward trend. Erythropoietin levels in all groups showed no difference.
- Hematological parameters