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Volume 2012, Article ID 563251, 20 pages
Review Article

Management of Anemia of Inflammation in the Elderly

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sirai Hospital, 09013 Carbonia, Italy
2Department of Medical Oncology, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari, Italy

Received 8 April 2012; Revised 22 July 2012; Accepted 7 August 2012

Academic Editor: Eitan Fibach

Copyright © 2012 Antonio Macciò and Clelia Madeddu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Anemia of any degree is recognized as a significant independent contributor to morbidity, mortality, and frailty in elderly patients. Among the broad types of anemia in the elderly a peculiar role seems to be played by the anemia associated with chronic inflammation, which remains the most complex form of anemia to treat. The origin of this nonspecific inflammation in the elderly has not yet been clarified. It seems more plausible that the oxidative stress that accompanies ageing is the real cause of chronic inflammation of the elderly and that the same oxidative stress is actually a major cause of this anemia. The erythropoietic agents have the potential to play a therapeutic role in this patient population. Despite some promising results, rHuEPO does not have a specific indication for the treatment of anemia in the elderly. Moreover, concerns about their side effects have spurred the search for alternatives. Considering the etiopathogenetic mechanisms of anemia of inflammation in the elderly population, an integrated nutritional/dietetic approach with nutraceuticals that can manipulate oxidative stress and related inflammation may prevent the onset of this anemia and its negative impact on patients’ performance and quality of life.