The kidneys have multiple functions including:
- Acting as a filter for waste within our bodies
- Removing excess water
- Regulating blood pressure
Chronic Kidney Disease, or renal disease, is the gradual loss of kidney function over an extended period of time.
Chronic Kidney Disease goes largely unnoticed and even blood tests to determine renal function will become abnormal only once 50% of kidney function is lost.
Chronic Kidney Disease may be a result of diabetes and high blood pressure, but among other things it can also be caused by:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Working or living within close proximity to toxic chemicals
- Birth defects
- The ingestion of certain medications over a long period of time
Early symptoms of renal failure may include:
- Dry skin
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of kidney disease will progress in severity depending upon the stage of renal failure. As the disease progresses, skin becomes pale or very dark, cognitive functions decrease, and bone and muscle pain present insurmountable hurdles to leading a normal life. Your kidneys make an important hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). EPO tells your body to make red blood cells. When you have kidney disease, your kidneys can not make enough EPO. This causes your red blood cell count to drop and anemia to develop. Almost all patients suffering from stage 5 kidney disease are anemic.
For those with chronic renal disease, the treatment of anemia is imperative. Anemia can be defined as an insufficient level of red blood cells, hemoglobin, and/or hematocrit in the body.
When anemia develops as a result of iron deficiency, patients may experience the following symptoms:
- Chronic fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin and gums
- Slow thinking
- Acute energy depletion
Those with severe anemia may find even the simplest physical tasks, such as climbing out of bed, extremely difficult.
Continued progression of renal failure from kidney disease simultaneously worsens anemia. Symptoms of progressive anemia make performing normal daily duties difficult. Standing up from a sitting position can cause dizziness and weakness, while low impact exercises like walking can leave patients short of breath with a rapidly beating heart.
Most physicians will act quickly and begin treatment for iron deficiency and iron deficient anemia as soon as a diagnosis is clear. Iron supplementation can be achieved through oral iron, intravenous (I.V.) iron or blood transfusions. I.V. iron supplementation and blood transfusions are usually reserved for those with late stage renal failure.
It is always simpler and better to improve iron levels through dietary measures and oral supplementation. However, some patients who suffer from nausea and vomiting due to chronic kidney disease and iron deficient anemia struggle to retain and effectively metabolize traditional iron supplements. An alternative form of iron, such as Polysaccharide-Iron Complex(PIC) found in
Talk to your doctor about your iron levels, and if iron deficiency and iron deficient anemia is a result of renal disease.