Anaemia is a condition where a person’s body has reduced blood cells. Symptoms associated with this disorder include: paleness, poor appetite, always tired, decreased energy through your day and insomnia (problem to sleep).
A variety of factors can cause anaemia such as cancer, HIV, deficiency of iron, systematic lupus erythermatosus, poor diet and blood loss due to an accident. However, Chronic Kidney Disease may also be a hidden cause for anaemia. EPO (erythropoietin) is a hormone produced by the kidneys which stimulate the body to produce red blood cells.
When your kidneys are damaged, EPO can’t be produced which causes a drop in the count of your red blood cells. The majority of patients suffering from kidney disorders develop anaemia. This condition is more common among patients which are at the 3rd or 4th stage of kidney disease, where extreme or moderate loss of your kidney functions is affected. At stage 5 kidney failure sets in.
If you suffer from Chronic Kidney Disease and want to determine whether you have anaemia, you should undergo a blood test on an annual basis. Your haemoglobin level will be determined. Haemoglobin forms part of your red blood cells which is responsible to transfer oxygen through your body. A healthy haemoglobin count is 13.5 for men whilst for women it is 12.0. Should the blood test reveal that your level is lower than normal, you may have anaemia. In such a case, consult with your healthcare practitioner to prescribe treatment.
If a CKD is the cause of your anaemia, ESA’s (erythropoiesis stimulating agents) will be included to assist your body to produce red blood cells. Generally, your doctor will give you an injection under your skin. The doctor will describe an ample amount of ESA to elevate your haemoglobin level to a normal rate.
How many treatments you will need as well as how much ESA, will depend on under-mentioned factors:
• The current level of your haemoglobin
• The kind of ESA, whether it is a short- or long lasting type
• How do you respond to the treatments.
Your medical professional will conduct haemoglobin tests on a monthly basis, after which he will either decrease or increase your dosage according to the test results.
Iron is another element needed to produce red blood cells. Especially when receiving ESA-treatments, iron is needed. This can either be administered by the doctor into a vein or can be consumed as a tablet. This additional iron is needed whilst undergoing ESA-treatments, when your body uses more iron.
Two available tests can be conducted to determine whether your body have an ample amount of iron. These tests are Ferritin and TSAT (transferring saturation). Your ferritin test should be at a minimum of 100 ng per millilitre, whilst your transferring saturation test at a minimum of 20%.
Your iron should be tested monthly when you receive ESA-treatments for anaemia. Anaemia patients should eat foods which are rich in iron, folic acid and Vitamin B. Consult with a dietician to assist you with a proper eating plan.
Anaemia, if not treated can result in LVH (left ventricle hypertrophy), which is a serious heart disease. A lot of patients suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease develop left ventricle hypertrophy even before stage 5 is reached and die from this condition. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for patients suffering from kidney diseases, to detect anaemia early and to receive treatment for it.