Divisione Pediatrica, Arcispedale “S. Anna”, Ferrara
Key words: Iron, Iron deficiency, Ferritin, Diet, Serum transferrin receptor
A comprehensive review of iron deficiency is presented. Current knowledge on physiology of iron metabolism is reviewed and on this basis the particular features of iron control in the neonatal period and of iron absorption are described. Pathophysiology and causes of iron deficiency are illustrated as well as tools for clinical evaluation of erythron function in men, such as serum ferritin and serum receptor for transferrin. Epidemiological features of iron deficiency in Italy are also briefly discussed: the prevalence of iron deficiency decreased over the past decades by more than 50%: recent data show 1,3% prevalence of iron deficiency anemia and 10,3% of iron depletion in infants and young children. In adolescents, especially in females, the prevalence is higher due to the specific features of iron metabolism during accelerated growth and puberty.
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