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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Anemia - How Chronic Kidney Disease Can Lead To It?

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Dr. AkankshaInternal Medicine Specialist • 25 Years Exp.MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine
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Anemia refers to a condition wherein the body possesses fewer red blood cells than what it contains under normal circumstances. Oxygen gets carried by the red blood cells to tissues and organs all over the body, thereby enabling them to use the necessary energy from food. A person suffering from anemia, will have his red blood cells carrying less amount of oxygen to organs like heart and brain, thus interrupt smooth functioning of the organs. Kidney disease leads to the problem of anemia. In fact, it is a very common side effect of kidney disease, wherein the body fails to produce the required amount of red blood cells.

What results in anemia?
A person can suffer from the problem of Anemia, when sufficient amount of red blood cells are not there in the body. Oxygen is carried through a person’s bloodstream by the Red blood cells, providing him energy and also ensure that the bones, muscles and organs function properly. Anemia can make a person feel weak and very tired as he or she is unable to receive the required amount of energy.

How can chronic kidney disease lead to anemia?
Anemia is common among people, who suffer from chronic kidney disease, though the problem can occur to anyone. People suffering from chronic kidney disease may have anemia during the early stages of their kidney disease and as the kidney problem gets worse, so does anemia. Improper functioning of kidneys generally link towards the problem of anemia. People, who suffer from complete loss of kidney function, tend to develop the problem of anemia. Kidney failure leads to a person, requiring dialysis or kidney transplant, for ensuring longevity.

Anemia becomes even more common in chronic kidney disease, if a person:

  • Has high diabetes.
  • Is suffering from heart problems.
  • Has a high level of blood pressure. 

Some of the other causes of anemia in people, suffering from kidney disease include loss of blood from hemodialysis and lower levels of some of the nutrients like iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, found in food.
These three nutrients are essential for the red blood cells to make haemoglobin, which is the main carrier of protein through oxygen in red blood cells.

Signs and symptoms of anemia with chronic kidney disease
The signs and symptoms of anemia in someone, suffering from chronic kidney disease are:

  • He might have terrible weakness.
  • A person might suffer from headaches on a frequent basis.
  • There would be problems with regard to concentration.
  • The color of the skin would become pale.

A doctor would try and increase the levels of iron in a person’s body, as the first step of treatment. Iron pills would help in improving the levels of iron and haemoglobin. Red Blood Cell transfusion is another way to treat this problem. Transfusion would be done inside the patient’s vein by raising the level of the patient’s blood consisting of red blood cells, thereby also increasing the amount of oxygen. Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid supplements are also suggested by healthcare providers, to help treat anemia.


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