Tips for Anemia Management for CKD Patients

patient getting blood drawn tests for anemia with CKD treatment

If you have chronic kidney disease, you may find that you experience anemia as a result.

This is a complex condition to deal with, but it is relatively common, and there are various anemia and CKD treatments available to deal with the symptoms of anemia that you may be experiencing.

What Is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which you lack sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body. Consequently, your tissues don’t receive enough oxygen, and you can begin to feel tired or weak.

Like many conditions, anemia can range from mild to severe. It’s also worth noting that anemia can have numerous different causes—there is no single cause for this condition.

How Are Anemia and Chronic Kidney Disease Related?

Often, people suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) can find that they also suffer from anemia.

This is a common correlation because when kidneys function less efficiently, they are unlikely to produce the right volumes of erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that helps trigger a number of bodily functions.

In relation to anemia, EPO encourages your bone marrow to produce red blood cells—the cells which carry oxygen throughout your body. When you have chronic kidney disease, your liver is damaged or diseased and can struggle to make sufficient EPO as a result.

You may find that your anemia is caused or worsened by a lack of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid.

If you have chronic kidney disease and are concerned that you may be anemic as well, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Paleness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Chest Pain

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are still concerned, check with your doctor, who will be able to give you a full diagnosis.

Treatments for Anemia and CKD

There are a number of potential options when it comes to anemia and CKD treatment. Your doctor will be able to recommend the right one for your specific case.

Some treatments include:

  • Iron: For most cases of anemia, doctors will generally start out by treating low iron levels. This usually involves you taking iron supplements, which contain ingredients that will help to boost your iron and hemoglobin levels.
  • B12 supplements: You may find that you feel fatigued due to a lack of B12 as opposed to iron. In this instance, your doctor may recommend B12 supplements or injections.
  • Folic acid supplements: Folic acid supplements are also commonly prescribed to patients with anemia and CKD.
  • Erythropoietin: Another approach is tackling your EPO levels. In some cases, doctors will administer injections of a manmade form of EPO.
  • Red blood cell transfusions: With more severe cases of anemia, your doctor may recommend a red blood cell transfusion.

Evidently, anemia can be a common condition to experience alongside chronic kidney disease. Some anemia and CKD treatments can benefit both conditions.

Knowing these facts about anemia’s causes, connection to CKD, and treatment method can be a good starting point. But if you have questions about your treatment or if you think you may have anemia, contact your doctor for more information, diagnosis, and options.