Kidney failure patients undergoing dialysis are at high risk for anemia. Anemia is an illness condition in which the red blood cell count is lower than the normal range. In cases of dialysis, anemia is contributable to the followings several factors:
1. Insufficience of red blood cells: healthy kidneys produce erythropoietin (EPO) which is a hormone and can stimulate the bone to produce red blood cell. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of our body. When kidneys are damaged and fail to produce enough EPO, production of red blood cell in the body is reduced. In addition, some kidney failure patients may have serious loss of red blood cells in urine, and this also contributes to the occurrence of anemia.
2. Short life span of red blood cells: Failed kidneys can not discharge toxins timely. These toxins build up in the blood may damage red blood cells and thus shorten their life span. In such a case, anemia also occurs easily.
3. Serious bleeding condition: Because of decreased kidney function, kidney failure patients suffer from bleeding condition like gastrointestinal bleedings more easily, which is also one of the risking factors for renal anemia.
4. Blood loss in dialysis: Dialysis is a medical method in which blood are induced out of patients’ body and filtered by a machine. During this process, there is blood loss and this also contributes to renal anemia.
5. Deficiencies in iron and vitamin B12: kidney failure patients need to adjust their diet and because of strict diet limitation, they may not ingest enough iron and vitamin B12, which also can lead to anemia.
Anemia is a common complication of kidney failure and it occurs no matter patients have started dialysis or not. Therefore, it is necessary for all the kidney disease patients to prevent renal anemia in advance.
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