Conceptualization and Measurement of Physiologic Health for Adults

Vol. 6, Anemia

by Bonnie Scott, George A. Goldberg, Robert H. Brook, Kathleen N. Lohr


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Anemia, defined as abnormally low levels of hemoglobin in the blood, is an important sign of underlying disease. Data on its prevalence and adverse consequences are used in the Health Insurance Study (HIS) to investigate the effect of different levels of insurance on health status and quality of care because of its ease of diagnosis, amenability to treatment, common occurrence (especially in women), and impact on well-being. This volume reviews pertinent medical literature, details the HIS definition of anemia, describes HIS methods for measuring its persistence and impact on people's lives, presents and discusses the enrollment data of the six HIS sites, and outlines quality-of-care criteria. Illustrative findings include the following: Based on questionnaire data, 16 percent of HIS adults claimed to have anemia; based on blood tests, 4 percent had anemia. Of those truly anemic, only 31 percent knew they were; of this latter subgroup, 32 percent reported ill effects (mainly worry).

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