The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized iron deficiency (ID) as the most widespread nutritional disorder worldwide. ID is affecting around one-fourth of the global population, especially women and children. According to the WHO, anemia affects around 25% of the global population and is frequently caused by the deficiency of iron. Anemia is associated with chronic fatigue, diminished well-being, and impaired cognitive functions. A recent study on IV iron and oral iron drugs industry states that the prevalence rate of ID is expected to grow as the incidence of several chronic disorders in the aging population is growing worldwide.

As iron plays a critical role in multiple metabolic pathways, including energy production, respiration, DNA synthesis, and cell proliferation, clinical consequences of untreated ID can be life-threatening. ID can cause neurobehavioral disorders such as restless leg syndrome, exacerbations of certain diseases such as angina, and cognitive impairment in children. ID is a common comorbidity of other diseases/conditions and not the main cause of the disease, therefore, people often neglect associated complications of untreated ID.

Prevalence

Globally, the prevalence of ID is in the range of 4–12% in adults, with IDA affecting about half of adult male and post-menopausal female patients. More than 2 billion people are affected with ID worldwide. IDA is widely prevalent in the patient groups with chronic kidney disease (CKD), chronic heart failures (CHF), and inflammatory bowel diseases(IBD) as well as in pre-menopausal and pregnant women and children.

Unfortunately, ID remains an under-diagnosed and under-treated condition despite its high prevalence and its potentially serious adverse events on patient lives. In the US, around 15 million people have ID, including 5 million people suffering Iron Deficiency Anemia(IDA).

In addition, the incidence of ID and IDA is associated with the presence of other chronic conditions. The probability of the IDA incidence as a co-morbid condition is high in patients with several chronic conditions. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the overall prevalence of CKD in the US is around 14%. In Europe, the European Renal Association (ERA) reported that CKD has prevalence of around 10% in the region. Also, IDA is common in people with CKD and IBD. The prevalent population of CKD and IBD in EU5 is approximately 1.5 million.

Health consequences of ID include majorly poor outcomes during pregnancy, with anemia contributing to around 20% of all maternal deaths worldwide, as well as impaired physical and cognitive development in neonates, increased risk of child morbidity, and reduced productivity in adults.

It is estimated that around 2 billion people are anemic globally, of which more than 1 billion suffer from IDA. In the US alone, Iron Deficiency Anemia(IDA) affects more than 14 million people. In developing countries, around 50% of pregnant women and 40% of pre-school children have anemia.

Treatment

Several research and clinical studies have confirmed that early diagnosis and proper treatment improves the quality of life and the physical condition of ID patients and alleviates fatigue and cognitive deficits. According to the WHO, timely and effective treatment of ID can both restore personal health and raise national productivity levels by 20%.

Iron drugs can be administered either orally or intravenous. An iron replacement therapy includes the usage of IV iron or oral iron drugs. An oral iron therapy is considered as the first-line of treatment for the condition. However, the demand for IV iron drugs is increasing as they are proven to be safer and more effective than oral iron drugs.

Prevention

Therefore, the prevention and treatment of ID is a major public health goal, especially in women and children globally, and in all age groups in developing and low-income countries. Iron deficiency causes significant morbidity and failure to treat ID effectively with currently available approved medications can cause the disease to progress to IDA. IDA can be usually seen in patients with diseases such as CKD, IBD, CHF, and in women with excessive uterine bleeding.

As the elderly population is growing, the prevalence of CKD is increasing worldwide as they are susceptible to a variety of chronic and age-related diseases. Therefore, expanding pool of ID and IDA population, coupled with increasing prevalence of chronic conditions,should call for serious measures to effectively treat this humongous disorder.

Read: IV and Oral Iron Drugs Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2019-2024

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