People with anemia of chronic renal disease are taken very seriously by doctors because the condition has very untoward effects if left untreated.
Contrary to what many might believe, anemia of chronic renal disease is actually a symptom and not the disease itself. It is caused by chronic renal or kidney disease at different stages, causing the impairment or hindrance of proper production of red blood cells, thereby affecting the normal capabilities and capacities of individuals. Knowing more about the process and treatment is beneficial.
About Anemia of Chronic Renal Disease
Anemia of chronic renal disease begins with problems in the kidneys which then lead to low red blood cell count. Low red blood cell levels or anemia is generally described as the improper or low distribution of oxygen to the different areas of the body by the blood.
Blood is highly important in different body processes because it carries oxygen and other nutrients to all the vital organs and other regions via the blood vessels. When a person with the condition is tested in the laboratory, the results will usually show low hematocrit or low hemoglobin concentration.
Average individuals should have around 13 g/dL of hemoglobin while hematocrit levels should be around 40%. Those suffering from anemia of chronic renal disease will have hemoglobin levels of around 11 g/dL only or lower.
Diagnosing Anemia of Chronic Renal Disease
Anemia is not generally a disease but is indicative of a more serious underlying problem. The symptom arises when blood production and blood loss have an imbalance. There are different reasons why blood loss is higher than blood production, such as trauma or excessive bleeding which leads to huge amounts of blood loss that cannot immediately be compensated by natural blood production in the body, excessive destruction of hemoglobin and abnormally low production by the bone marrow.
If the red blood cells or blood production cannot be produced at the right amounts, the body will have to keep reusing old ones, which in turn will lead to nutrient and oxygen deficiencies.
Effects of Anemia of Chronic Renal Disease
Individuals with anemia of chronic renal disease have a problem secreting eyrthorpoeitin which is largely responsible for the proper creation and distribution of red blood cells throughout the body. Since renal disease or renal failure tends to make the body store more toxins and wastes, the bone marrow cannot readily produce more red blood cells, thereby requiring dialysis.
If oxygen levels and nutrients in the body are low, the patient will display a variety of signs and symptoms together with abnormal blood results due to anemia. Examples are fatigue, lethargy, body weakness, shortness of breath, intolerance to different physical activities, nausea and dizziness.
All these are related to the low amount of nutrients and oxygen in the body. Individuals cannot function properly and cannot sustain different activities.
Alleviating Anemia of Chronic Renal Disease
The prognosis of individuals with anemia of chronic renal disease is actually good especially if the condition or symptom is determined during the early stages. The prognosis will start to decline especially if the person is already in the final stage or is diagnosed with renal failure. It’s important to address the problem by focusing more on the root cause of anemia and helping the kidney problems instead.
One of the primary steps include going to a reliable renal specialist to fully assess and diagnose the problem. The assessment should include renal tests, complete blood count, tests to determine the presence of infection and nutritional assessment. Doctors will check the age of the patient and see if hemoglobin levels are still within manageable range.
Otherwise, the physician might need to administer synthetic erythropoietin to trigger the production of additional red blood cells immediately. The blood pressure also needs to be monitored. Iron supplements will be recommended. Patients in the later stages of renal disease might be advised to undergo dialysis 1 to 3 times per week.
Checking Patients with Anemia of Chronic Renal Disease
The hemoglobin levels of those with anemia of chronic renal disease should be checked every 2 to 4 weeks during the induction phase of therapy. During the maintenance phase, the hemoglobin levels must be monitored every 1 to 3 months.
The dose can be adjusted depending on the advice and recommendations of the doctors and the response of the patient to treatment. Erythropoiesis therapy is intended to help the body produce more red bloodcells naturally. There are several synthetic agents and medications introduced for therapy depending on the age, stage and response of patients.
Doctors will also check for other abnormalities and the presence of toxins to determine how well the kidneys or renal system is functioning. Some of the things to monitor include serum ferritin and aluminum toxicity. Blood transfusions are only done during very serious conditions.
Patients in the later stage of the disease might be required to undergo kidney transplant. This is only after dialysis has been rendered a temporary solution to anemia of chronic renal disease. The patient should discuss matters with his family to determine how well the treatment or approach will help in his case. Doctors should also inform the possible risks and complications of such approaches.
Preventing Anemia of Chronic Renal Disease
Since the true cause or sources of anemia of chronic renal disease is not known, people will do best by maintaining good and optimal health through proper nutrition and supplementation. Individuals are advised to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Preventing other related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart ailments will generally improve the overall condition of people, thereby reducing the risk for anemia of chronic renal disease. It’s best to improve your diet and eat more iron-rich food sources.
Also do some form of physical activity at least three times a week to boost immunity and improve blood circulation. People are advised to donate blood at least once a year to stimulate the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells and properly distribute nutrients to vital organs. Keep an eye out for the early symptoms and effects by going for regular checkups once or twice each year. Monitor your blood pressure and check for the presence of infection.