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Renal Anemia

2012-12-08 14:09

What is renal anemia?

How does kidney problem cause renal anemia?

Management of renal anemia

What Is Renal Anemia?

Renal Anemia, just as its name implies, refers to anemia caused by kidney problem and is proportional to the severity of illness condition. Renal anemia usually occurs when kidney disease develops to advanced stage, so it is always regarded one of the leading symptoms or complications of kidney failure.

According to clinical study, renal anemia occurs when serum creatinine level is more than 308 umol/L (3.5 mg/dl). Therefore, for people whose serum creatinine level is higher than 3.5mg/dl, they can go to hospital to found out whether they are suffer from renal anemia. Once renal anemia is unfortunately diagnosed, an effective medical treatment is needed.

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How does kidney problem cause renal anemia?

Anemia is diagnosed when patients have an unusually low count of red blood cells. For people with renal anemia, the following several factors may be contributable to the occurrence of renal anemia:

1.Lack of erythropoietin

Kidneys have function to secrete erythropoietin, a protein produced in the kidneys that helps to create red blood cells. When kidneys are damaged, secretion of erythropoietin decreases, as a result of which, generation of red blood cell reduces as well. When red blood cell count is lower than the normal value, renal anemia is formed.


Kidneys work as a filter and helps to discharge wastes and toxins. However, due to kidney failure, toxins build up in the blood. These toxins affect the generation and metabolism of red blood cells, which can lead to renal anemia directly.


Once we are affected by kidney problem, we need to change our diet habits and limit protein intake. Long-term and strict protein limitation reduces the concentration of plasma protein, the main material for blood. When the raw material decreases, general of blood decreases and consequently, renal anemia is caused.

4.Deficiency of iron

In cases of kidney failure, gastrointestinal tract fails to ingest iron, which also can trigger renal anemia.

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What are the symptoms of renal anemia?

Renal anemia can be a symptom or complication of kidney disease. For people with kidney problem, if they found they have the following symptoms, they need to consider whether they are suffering from renal anemia.

Symptoms caused by renal anemia include:

1. Fell tired easily

2. Pale skin and gums

3. Become short of breath

4. Dizziness

5. Inability to think clearly

Additional symptoms may include:

1. Hair loss

2. Malaise (general sense of feeling unwell)

3. Worsening of heart problems

Although in cases of kidney problem, renal anemia appears as a symptom or a complication, it worsens kidney function and accelerates kidney disease. Therefore, timely treatment for renal anemia is beneficial for kidney disease patients.

Management of renal anemia

Nearly everyone with end stage renal disease has anemia. Before the 1990s, anemia was treated with blood transfusions which are effective but meanwhile risky. Some of the risks of blood transfusion include allergic reactions, iron overload and infections. Therefore, only when renal anemia is serious enough to cause other problems, can blood transfusion is given.

At present, aside from renal anemia, there are a number of drugs can be applied to help with renal anemia. These drugs are erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) which can stimulate the formation and production of red blood cells, recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), a protein created in the laboratory and has same effects as the erythropoietin produced in the body and darbepoetin alfa (brand name Aranesp® ).

Besides, if patients have high level of toxin, dialysis is helpful. We know toxins building in the blood can shorten the life span of red blood cells, so through removing toxins in the blood, red blood cells are protected from being damaged, which in some ways is also helpful for preventing or alleviating renal anemia.

Lastly, since renal anemia occurs because of seriously damaged kidney, so treating kidney disease is the basic solution. Only when we get kidney problem controlled fundamentally, can renal anemia be stopped effectively. Therefore, while treating renal anemia, please do not forget to treat kidney problem.

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