New Survey Reveals Nearly Half of Women Are Unfamiliar with Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency

Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. today announced new survey results that reveal concerning gaps in women’s knowledge of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA), the most common type of anemia that can impact one in five women of childbearing age.2 According to a national survey as part of the Get Iron Informed initiative, nearly half of women age 18-65 (45%) are unfamiliar with IDA. The survey also revealed that, on average, women with IDA experienced a delay in diagnosis of 3.9 years from the onset of symptoms.

Why is this important?

IDA is more common in women,3 since women of childbearing age have an increased risk for developing IDA due to blood loss during childbirth, long or abnormally heavy menstrual periods, or bleeding fibroids.2 The survey findings, which suggest some women may be living with untreated IDA, underscore the importance of educating and empowering those at risk to speak with their healthcare providers.

“These new survey results are concerning because they show that far too many women do not know about or understand IDA,” said Dr. Stephanie Martin, OB/GYN. “This may help explain why IDA remains a frequently underdiagnosed and underappreciated women’s health issue, even though it is the most common type of anemia. 2 If a woman feels she’s at risk for IDA, it’s important that she talk to her doctor about having her iron levels checked – hopefully this will shorten the time it takes to get a diagnosis.”

What did the survey say?

The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll in 2020 among 1,000 women age 18-65 and 200 women diagnosed with IDA. The results uncovered key gaps in women’s knowledge of risk factors for IDA:

  • More than two in five women (42%) couldn’t identify any of the common IDA risk factors.
  • Of women who reported having at least one risk factor for IDA*, only one-third (33%) thought they were actually at risk for the condition.
  • Most women (78%) said they wish they had a better understanding of IDA in general.

Of concern, many women said they only visit a healthcare provider if symptoms are severe. While the vast majority of women (90%) pay close attention to changes in their body, 62% said they only visit a healthcare provider if they experience severe bodily symptoms. Half of women not diagnosed with IDA (51%) said they have experienced a potential IDA symptom in the last 12 months, but nearly a third (31%) haven’t discussed any of them with their healthcare provider.

More information

In response to this need for broader education, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. has updated and added a refreshed downloadable discussion guide to help patients talk about their health concerns with a doctor. Visitors can access easy-to-understand information and resources about IDA, and learn the importance of knowing their iron levels.

IDA is caused by low iron levels, and people with pre-existing conditions may be at risk.2 In addition to women’s health conditions, gastrointestinal (GI) conditions like inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, chronic kidney disease and heart failure may put people at increased risk for IDA.2 Mild to moderate IDA may have no signs or symptoms, but as it progresses, the condition may cause fatigue, cravings for ice, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, dizziness or brittle nails.2

This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. between July 6 and July 24, 2020 among 1,000 U.S. women 18-65 and an oversample of 152 women 18-65 diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) for a total of 200 women diagnosed with IDA. Figures for age, education, income, race/ethnicity, region, size of household, marital status, and employment status were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in their respective population.

About Daiichi Sankyo

Daiichi Sankyo Group is dedicated to the creation and supply of innovative pharmaceutical therapies to improve standards of care and address diversified, unmet medical needs of people globally by leveraging our world-class science and technology. With more than 100 years of scientific expertise and a presence in more than 20 countries, Daiichi Sankyo and its 15,000 employees around the world draw upon a rich legacy of innovation and a robust pipeline of promising new medicines to help people. In addition to a strong portfolio of medicines for cardiovascular diseases, under the Group’s 2025 Vision to become a “Global Pharma Innovator with Competitive Advantage in Oncology,” Daiichi Sankyo is primarily focused on providing novel therapies in oncology, as well as other research areas centered around rare diseases and immune disorders. For more information, please visit: Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, is a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group. For more information on Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., please visit:

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