Iron deficiency in chronic heart failure
If you have been told you have chronic heart failure it means that your heart is not working well enough to pump the blood your organs and tissues need around your body. Your heart may have been damaged or weakened by several conditions such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart valve defects or other factors such as alcohol misuse or viral infection.1 The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, sometimes known as ischaemic heart disease.2
There are around 6.5 million people with chronic heart failure in Europe and around 5 million in the USA.3Your risks of having heart failure increase with age, and in particular go up when you are more than 75 years old.3,4
About 50% of heart failure patients have some form of iron deficiency, with and without anaemia.5,6 Iron is essential for the substance haemoglobin which is in your red blood cells, and carries oxygen to your organs. Iron deficiency anaemia develops when your body can no longer make enough red blood cells. If you are suffering from chronic heart failure, there are many reasons why you may also be iron deficient.
- You may be absorbing less iron from your food into your bloodstream as your gut may be inflamed7.
- You may not have enough iron in your diet7.
- Drug interactions may reduce the amount of iron you absorb7.
- Medications may also be causing internal bleeding which means that more iron is lost from your body than normal7.
Having iron deficiency can affect your quality of life and even your prognosis8 so it’s important that you talk to your doctor about any concerns you have, or if you think you have signs of iron deficiency. Your doctor will be able to do a blood test to see if you are iron deficient, find out what is causing it and offer you treatment. You can find out more about the symptoms of iron deficiency using the Symptom Browser.
- 1. Cowie MR, Mosterdft A, Wood DA, Deckers JW, Sutton GC, Grobbeef DE. The epidemiology of heart failure. Eur Heart J. 1997;18:208-225.
- 2. Mosterd A, Hoes AW. Clinical epidemiology of heart failure. Heart. 2007;93(9):1137-46. doi:10.1136/hrt.2003.025270.
- 3. Tendera M. Epidemiology, treatment, and guidelines for the treatment of heart failure in Europe. Eur Hear J Suppl. 2005;7(Suppl J):J5-J9. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/sui056.
- 4. Chronic heart failure. NICE Clin Guidel. 2010;108:1-119.
- 5. Ebner N, von Haehling S. Iron deficiency in heart failure: a practical guide. Nutrients. 2013;5(9):3730-9. doi:10.3390/nu5093730.
- 6. Klip IT, Comin-Colet J, Voors A a, et al. Iron deficiency in chronic heart failure: an international pooled analysis. Am Heart J. 2013;165(4):575-582.e3. doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2013.01.017.
- 7. a. b. c. d. Mcdonagh T, Macdougall IC. Iron therapy for the treatment of iron deficiency in chronic heart failure : intravenous or oral ? Iron deficiency : a common co-morbidity in heart failure. Eur J Heart Fail. 2015.
- 8. Jankowska E a, Rozentryt P, Witkowska A, et al. Iron deficiency: an ominous sign in patients with systolic chronic heart failure. Eur Heart J. 2010;31(15):1872-80. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehq158.