The relationships between serum ferritin, gender, and exercise in Canadians of Icelandic descent : implications for nursing

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Bartfay, Wally J.
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It has been suggested that increased levels of stored iron may be a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. The relationships between serum ferritin, gendor and exercise in male and female Manitobians of Icelandic descent age 21 to 60 years were studied. Mean serum ferritin levels obtained were 187.93 ug/L and 47.84 ug/L for males and females respectively. The mean serum ferritin level for premenopausal females was 33.06 ug/L compared to 71.14 ug/L for postmenopausal females. Statistically significant differenccs were noted for serum ferritin levels between males and females; males and premenopausal women; males and postmenopausal women, and between premenopausal and postmenopausal females. Males, but not females, who exercised regularly (45 minutes or more per week) had significantly lower levels of serum ferrtin compared to their sedentary counterparts. However, in postmenopausal females, exercise was found to be negatively correlated to serum ferritin. Hemoglobin and hematocrit were found to be positively correlated to serum ferritin levels in males and females. Higher intakes of dietary iron were found to be positively correlated with serum ferritin levels in females; whereas, alcohol consumption was found to be positively correlated to serum ferritin in males. These findings suggest that regular exercise in males and postmenopausal women may be beneficial in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease through the depleting of iron stores in the body.