Iron therapy is used in elderly patients to treat anemia, and the research says that low doses of iron therapy can improve the hemoglobin levels just as well as the higher doses can, and the best part of this research is that there are less side effects from the iron in lower doses, which can greatly prevent the patients from going through those effects.
Hemoglobin is a protein in the red cells that carry the oxygen to all the organs of the body, but when the hemoglobin level is impaired, then the capacity of the blood cells to transport oxygen to different cells of the body is affected. This low level of oxygen in blood causes anemia to develop. Formation of hemoglobin requires adequate amounts of iron levels.
The researchers then conducted a study in which they selected about 90 hospitalized patients over 80 years of age and they were randomly selected and were put on different medication regimen of iron, which was 15 milligrams, 50 milligrams of a liquid iron compound and 150 milligrams of iron tablets as a treatment for iron-deficiency anemia. As a comparison group, 30 patients without anemia received 15 mg of iron for 60 days.
The levels of the hemoglobin were assessed on the day the therapy was initiated and after every 30 and 60 days of treatment.
It was just after 15 minutes of the first dose that was given that a rise in blood iron levels were noted in the anemic patients, but not in the group who were non-anemic.
In the three groups of elderly who were given different dose regimens of iron, their levels of iron were the same after 60 days of treatment.
Just to mention a few of the side effects of iron that the individuals taking iron are abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, change in bowel habits and black stools.
So the study suggests that even if iron is given in small doses up to one tenth of the recommended dose efficiently raises the hemoglobin levels and iron stores without giving substantial side effects.