Iron and Heart Disease

A Review of The Epidemiologic Data
  • Christopher T. Sempos
  • Richard F. Gillum
  • Anne Condon Looker
Part of the Nutrition ◊ and ◊ Health book series (NH)


In 1981 Jerome Sullivan (1) proposed a new theory to explain the differences in coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence and mortality between men and women. He noticed that as men and women age the gaps between them in heart disease incidence and in body iron stores both decrease (2,3). Lower stores of iron levels in women are mostly a result of menstrual blood loss and with menopause the differences in iron stores decrease. As a result, he theorized that body iron stores are directly or positively related to CHD risk, i.e., the higher your body iron stores the greater your CHD risk. Until the publication of results from Finland by Salonen et al. (4) showing a positive relationship between serum ferritin levels, a measure of body iron stores, and the risk of heart attack in men the hypothesis was largely ignored. Since then, however, there has been an almost explosive interest in the relationship of body iron stores to the risk of heart disease.


Coronary Heart Disease Heart Attack Serum Ferritin Coronary Heart Disease Risk Serum Iron 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher T. Sempos
  • Richard F. Gillum
  • Anne Condon Looker

There are no affiliations available

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