A new survey released ahead of Iron Deficiency Day 2023 (26 November) shows that while many Australians have heard of iron deficiency, a significant majority are unaware of what symptoms they should be looking out for.
GPs, specialists and people living with iron deficiency are encouraging Australians to listen to their body as part of a campaign to Take Iron Seriously after the number of Australians being tested for iron deficiency dropped significantly during the pandemic.
The survey, commissioned by CSL, asked 1,033 Australian adults about their understanding of iron deficiency. The results showed that:
- A quarter (24%) of respondents have never heard of or have a limited understanding of the condition.1
- The majority of Australians are unaware of common symptoms related to iron deficiency – including unusual food cravings such as chewing or eating ice (90%), shortness of breath (81%), decrease in libido (87%), and dizziness (57%).1
- Only 1% of people were aware of all the common iron deficiency symptoms identified in the survey.1
Iron is needed to carry oxygen in your blood, giving you energy and helping you concentrate.4 It also keeps your immune system healthy, allowing you to fight off infections.5
Iron deficiency occurs when your need for iron is higher than your body’s supply, which can cause symptoms including fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath.6 It is the most common nutritional deficiency, affecting 1 in 3 people worldwide.7 Those most at risk of iron deficiency include women, children, adolescents and people living with chronic diseases.8, 9
Iron deficiency can also lead to iron deficiency anaemia, where the body can no longer make the number of healthy red blood cells you need.8
The survey also revealed that three in four Australians (77%) believed iron deficiency can either significantly or moderately impact quality of life.1
Dr Lisa Clarke, Haematologist and Iron Deficiency expert, says that it is important for Australians to take iron deficiency seriously and listen to their body.
“Iron deficiency remains overlooked by patients and healthcare professionals as we don’t have a good understanding of the symptoms. Often iron deficiency is only addressed when anaemia has developed. By recognising the signs early and speaking to your GP, we can take an important step towards early diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr Clarke.
“Iron deficiency can cause a variety of different symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness and mental fog, which can significantly impact physical and mental capacity, and overall quality of life. Studies show that undiagnosed iron deficiency can impact work, study, leisure and completing everyday tasks.”6
Dr Clarke added, “It’s particularly important for women to be aware as they are at higher risk throughout their life due to menstrual loss and pregnancy. This means that menstruating women need over twice as much iron from their diet as men so if they’re not getting enough they will become iron deficient.”2
Iron Deficiency Day – Sunday 26 November – is a timely reminder for Australians to be aware of the common symptoms related to iron deficiency. Iron Deficiency Day is supported by healthcare professionals, patients and international organisations including the Heart Failure Policy Network, European Kidney Health Alliance, Global Heart Hub and CSL.
For more information about iron deficiency, speak to your GP and visit takeironseriously.com/au.
About the survey
This survey was conducted by YouGov on behalf of CSL Seqirus. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,033 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 13th November 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of Australian adults (aged 18+).
- Iron Deficiency Awareness in Australia. Conducted by YouGov on behalf of CSL Seqirus. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 13th November 2023.
- Zimmermann M, Hurrell R. Nutritional iron deficiency. Lancet. 2007;370:511-520
- CSL Seqirus Data on File
- Koduru P., et al. Therap Adv Gastroenterol 2016;9(1):76-85.
- Dhur A., et al. Comp Biochem Physiol 1989;94A(1):11-19
- What is Iron Deficiency. Take Iron Seriously. Available at: www.takeironseriously.com/home. Accessed November 2023.
- Vos, T., et al (2016).. The Lancet, 388(10053), 1545–1602
- Pasricha SR, et al. Med J Aust 2010; 193 (9): 525-532. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2010.tb04038.x
- Miller JL. Perspect Med. 2013 Jul 1;3(7):a011866. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a011866.
About CSL Seqirus
CSL Seqirus is part of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL). As one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world, CSL Seqirus is a major contributor to the prevention of influenza globally and a transcontinental partner in pandemic preparedness. With state-of-the-art production facilities in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, and leading R&D capabilities, CSL Seqirus utilizes egg, cell and adjuvant technologies to offer a broad portfolio of differentiated influenza vaccines in more than 20 countries around the world.
In Australia, CSL Seqirus operates the only local manufacturing facility for seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine and produces a range of unique medicines in the national interest including antivenoms and the world’s only human vaccine for Q fever. The company also in-licenses a broad range of paediatric and adult vaccines and specialty pharmaceutical products.
CSL (ASX: CSL; USOTC: CSLLY) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of lifesaving medicines, including those that treat haemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL – including our three businesses, CSL Behring, CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor – provides lifesaving products to patients in more than 100 countries and employs 30,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest. For inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit CSL.com/we-are-csl/vita-original-stories.
For more information about CSL, visit www.csl.com.
This press release is issued from CSL Seqirus in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and is intended to provide disease awareness information to consumer media. Please be aware that information relating to the approval status and labels of approved CSL Seqirus products may vary from country to country. Please consult your local regulatory authority on the approval status of CSL Seqirus products.
AU-FERI-23-0020. November 2023