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Categories Kidney Diet, Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Dealing With Anemia From Kidney Disease

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If you think the kidneys have little to do with the composition of your blood, think again. There are reasons why anemia (a lack of sufficient red blood cells) is a problem that plagues kidney disease patients. It isn’t just that kidneys filter wastes from the blood and flush them from the body. The fact is that the kidneys themselves are partly responsible for the blood’s very composition.

Kidneys play an active role in maintaining the body, and one way is to produce a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. This hormone signals your body to create more red blood cells. But of course, when the kidneys become compromised, they are less able to make the hormone. And virtually inevitably, those with kidney disease will develop anemia as a result.

How severe the anemia will be, and how early it becomes noticeable, depends on several other factors:

  • whether the person is female;
  • whether the person is of African descent;
  • whether they have diabetes;
  • which of the five stages of kidney disease they are currently in.

As soon as someone shows slight signs of kidney problems, it’s a good idea to have blood tests as well, to find out if there’s already an issue with anemia. In fact, regular blood tests are a good idea anyway, because sometimes anemia is someone’s first sign that they even have kidney disease in the first place. But whether the kidney problems were diagnosed first, or the anemia, this problem can’t just be left untreated. A lower supply of red blood cells makes the heart work harder, and this can lead to heart disease. And that’s the last thing someone needs when they’re already dealing with kidney disease.

Treatment for anemia needs to happen in conjunction with treatments for the kidney disease. Usually the doctor will prescribe drugs called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, or ESAs. These injections made under the skin help the body create more red blood cells. And since iron is also needed for making the cells, the patient will need iron pills, and might also want to eat more iron-rich foods.

Nobody should have to fight through the lethargy and weakness of anemia while engaged in a primary fight against kidney disease. And nobody should add heart disease to that battle either, by ignoring the anemia. These three conditions are closely intertwined, so if the anemia can be dealt with, it can only help both the heart and the kidneys as well.

 

Categories Kidney Disease

The Role of Oxygen in Kidney Disease Symptoms

Thinking of the internal organs in isolation, one may not suspect loss of oxygen to be one a major factor in kidney disease. But the interconnection of bodily systems means that a problem starting in one organ can have far-reaching and surprising effects in others. A lack of oxygen is one problem that can begin with the kidneys, but go on to affect the lungs and brain as well.

Kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin that signals the production of red blood cells. If the kidneys are failing, they create less of this hormone, meaning the body produces lower numbers of these cells. And since those cells carry oxygen, the body eventually suffers from anemia, a lack of oxygen.

One sign of oxygen starvation may be weary muscles. These rely on the oxygen carried by red blood cells, so if they get less of this vital fuel, they work less efficiently. A person may experience increased fatigue long before he has any idea he has kidney disease. The lungs are another area that might be affected. If the body is starved of oxygen, this can lead to shortness of breath. The lungs can’t take enough oxygen into the cells reaching the lungs, nor can those cells expel enough carbon dioxide. Eventually, as well as causing shortness of breath, this builds up acidity in the system.

The most surprising symptoms of kidney disease and oxygen starvation, though, may appear in the brain. Without enough oxygen, a person’s concentration can be affected. She may become dizzy. There could even be difficulty in remembering things.

People associate kidney disease with more obvious signs: back ache or a change in urine frequency and color. But because of the interconnected bodily systems, kidney disease may be signalled as much by dizziness or fatigue from a lack of oxygen as by painful urination. Keeping an eye on the body’s complete general health is essential to the early detection of kidney disease.

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