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ANEMIA OF CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

What is anemia?

Anemia is the medical term for when a person has too few red blood cells. Red blood cells are the cells in your blood that carry oxygen. If you have too few red blood cells, your body does not get all the oxygen it needs.

"Anemia of chronic kidney disease" is one type of anemia. It can happen in people who have a long-term disease or condition such as arthritis or cancer.

What are the symptoms of anemia of chronic kidney disease?

Most people with anemia of chronic kidney disease have no symptoms. They find out they have it after their doctor does blood tests for another reason.
People who do have symptoms might:

  • Feel tired or weak, especially if they try to exercise
  • Have headaches

Should I see a doctor or nurse?

Yes. If you have a long-term disease or condition and get the symptoms listed above, tell your doctor or nurse.

Is there a test for anemia of chronic kidney disease?

Yes. Your doctor or nurse will do different blood tests to check for anemia of chronic kidney disease and other causes for anemia.
It is common for people with anemia of chronic kidney disease to also have another types of anemia such as "iron deficiency anemia”, “folate deficiency anemia” or “vitamin B12 deficiency anemia”.

How is anemia of chronic disease treated?

A large part of the treatment is treatment of the kidney disease itself.

Other treatment depends on your symptoms.

If your anemia of chronic disease is causing symptoms, your doctor might treat it with:

  • Medicines to help your body make more red blood cells (EPO or Procrit shots)
  • Medicine for iron, folate or vitamin B12 deficiency
  • A blood transfusion – During a blood transfusion, you will get blood that has been donated by someone else. The donated blood goes into your vein.

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