What causes anemia? Anemia happens when there are not enough red blood cells in your body. Red blood cells carry oxygen through your bloodstream, giving you energy and helping your muscles, bones, and organs work properly. Anemia can make you feel weak and tired because you are not getting the energy you need. How does chronic kidney disease (CKD) cause anemia? Anybody can develop anemia, but it is very common in people with CKD. People with CKD may start to have anemia in the early stages of CKD, and anemia usually gets worse as CKD gets worse. If your kidneys are not working as well as they should, you are more likely to get anemia. If you think you might be at risk,
about getting tested. Management of anemia and its symptoms may help you feel better. What are the symptoms of anemia? Anemia can happen with or without symptoms. Many of the symptoms of anemia can also be caused by other problems. The only way be sure if you have anemia is to get tested. If you are experiencing symptoms, it is important that you talk to your doctor. All of the cells in your body live for a certain amount of time and then die. Your body is always working to make new cells to replace the ones that have died. Red blood cells live for about 115 days. Your kidneys help your body make red blood cells. Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO).
EPO sends a signal to the body to make more red blood cells. If your kidneys are not working as well as they should, they can t make enough EPO. Without enough EPO, your body doesn t know to make enough red blood cells. This means fewer red blood cells are available for carrying oxygen through your body. Iron is a mineral found in many foods, such as meats and leafy greens. Your body uses iron to make red blood cells. A common cause of anemia in people with CKD is iron deficiency. Iron deficiency means you do not have enough iron in your body. It can be caused by not getting enough iron in your diet or by losing blood, either through blood tests or during dialysis. If you don t take in enough iron through your diet, you can get anemia. Around half of people with CKD stages 2 to 5 have some kind of iron deficiency. There are several kinds of anemia. Anemia caused by having too little EPO or too little iron in your body are the most common in people with CKD. Talk to your doctor to learn more. How will I know if I have anemia? Talk to your doctor if you think you may have anemia. The only way to know if you have anemia is to have a blood test. When you have kidney disease, your doctor will want you to have blood tests often. These tests are used to check not only your kidney function, but also for signs of any other problems, such as the number of red blood cells and how much iron you have in your body.
The test for anemia is a simple blood test to check for the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is a part of your red blood cells. Figuring out the amount of hemoglobin you have in your blood can tell your doctor how many red blood cells you have. Your doctor may also ask you if you ve noticed any symptoms, such as changes in skin color or feeling unusually tired. How is anemia treated? Getting your anemia treated can help you feel better. Depending on the cause of your anemia, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments: Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) ESAs are medicines that work by sending a signal to the your body to make more red blood cells. Iron supplements Your doctor may give you iron supplements as pills or as a shot. If you are on dialysis, you may be given an iron supplement during your dialysis treatment. Red blood cell transfusion A red blood cell transfusion is a procedure to increase the number of red blood cells in your body by giving you red blood cells from someone else s body through an IV. This can temporarily improve your anemia symptoms. Doctors and researchers are working on potential new treatments for anemia. New treatments in development are tested in clinical trials.
If you re interested in joining a clinical trial to try an investigational new treatment for anemia, visit ClinicalTrials. gov to learn about or. If you have CKD, getting early treatment for your anemia can help slow the progress of your CKD. If you think you might have anemia, talk to your doctor about getting tested. , also known as kidney failure, often go hand in hand. Most people with kidney failure who are on dialysis have anemia. Kidney transplant patients are also at higher risk for anemia. The ACT on Anemia campaign is helping health care professionals have conversations with their patients about the link between chronic kidney disease and anemia. Here are some resources for you and your patients: Media upload failed. You can try again to add the media or go ahead and post the answer Media upload failed. You can try again to add the media or go ahead and post the question Uploaded image is less than minimum required 320×240 pixels size. Sorry, file format is not supported. You can only upload image with size less than 5 MB. You can only upload video with size less than 60 MB. Go ahead and post your answer. Uploaded video will be live after processing. Go ahead and post your question. Uploaded video will be live after processing. Sending request. Uploading.