Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
You or someone you care about may have been diagnosed with CKD anemia, or anemia due to chronic kidney disease.
This video will help you understand more about CKD anemia and how it affects your body.
Anemia happens when you don't have enough red blood cells.
Red blood cells are made in the center of bones, called bone marrow.
In red blood cells, iron is needed to make a protein that carries oxygen, called hemoglobin.
Red blood cells flow through the bloodstream to the lungs to pick up oxygen.
As blood flows through the lungs, oxygen moves from air sacs into the blood.
Then, oxygen attaches to the hemoglobin in red blood cells.
These red blood cells deliver oxygen to cells throughout the body. Cells need oxygen to function and survive.
In anemia, there are not enough healthy red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the body. This means that organs and tissues may not work as well as they should.
While many conditions may cause anemia, it is often caused by chronic kidney disease.
The kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO.
Bone marrow uses EPO to make red blood cells.
Chronic kidney disease damages the kidneys, so they don't make enough EPO.
As a result, bone marrow makes less red blood cells, causing anemia.
Symptoms of CKD anemia may include:
feeling tired or weak;
pale skin color;
problems concentrating or thinking;
loss of appetite;
a fast heartbeat;
feeling lightheaded when you stand up;
and shortness of breath with activity.
A doctor may test a sample of your blood to see if you have CKD anemia.
For example, a complete blood count test can measure the amount of hemoglobin and red blood cells in a sample.
A normal hemoglobin range in healthy adults is 13.8 to 17.2 for men, and 12.1 to 15.1 for women.
A low hemoglobin level in chronic kidney disease is below thirteen for men and below twelve for women.
Your doctor may perform other tests to evaluate CKD anemia.
If you have questions about CKD anemia, when to start treatment, or any medications you have been prescribed, talk to your doctor.
It is important to take your medications as directed, and report any side effects you have.