Anemia can also be linked to kidney disease: the causes can be different
When one thinks of anemia, or the low levels of hemoglobin within red blood cells, one immediately thinks of iron deficiency or particularly abundant menstrual flows.
In reality, the causes of this phenomenon can be many, so much so that there are cases in which those who suffer from chronic kidney disease – therefore with insufficient function of these organs – also have this problem.
This is a picture that must be recognized together with the specialist, because often the kidneys do not give perceptible signs of their suffering: the early diagnosis of the problem is essential to deal with it in the best possible way.
How to recognize the problem
There are signs that people with kidney problems may also point to possible anemia. But unfortunately they are sometimes underestimated.
"Too often some of the symptoms that a patient with renal insufficiency complains, such as easy fatigue, difficulty concentrating and insomnia, are attributed to the accumulation of toxic substances linked to poor renal purification" – explains Antonio Santoro, Director of the Scientific Committee ANED (National Association of Hemodialysis, Dialysis and Transplantation) – Yet the numbers speak for themselves: since anemia is a frequent complication, particularly in the most advanced stages of the disease, its often multifactorial origin must be sought and studied ".
The important thing, in any case, is to grasp the signals that the body sends, remembering that if the kidneys do not work, anemia can be around the corner: "In patients with chronic kidney disease, anemia is a fairly frequent event" , comments Giuseppe Rombolà, Director of Nephrology and Dialysis of the ASST Sette Laghi di Varese.
Anemia can depend on various factors such as lack of iron, blood loss or reduced dietary intake or reduced intestinal absorption, deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid – also in this case due to reduced food intake or reduced absorption – or due to lack of erythropoietin hormone – hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells and is produced by the kidneys.
If for the initial degrees of anemia "the patient may be completely asymptomatic, in the more advanced degrees various disorders may occur that significantly affect the quality of life: tachycardia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, inflammation of the mouth" . This level of anemia, which is associated with the most advanced stages of renal failure, must be recognized and adequately treated, also to proceed with the most suitable treatments on a case-by-case basis.
The impact of chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease, according to recent data, affects 7 to 10% of the population at different levels, also because these organs suffer in silence. If the heart goes into trouble because little blood arrives, pain appears.
When the brain is unable to manage movements correctly, one immediately realizes that there has been a problem. But what if the kidneys are not working well? Unless there is a reduction in function of about 50%, the two organs do not send any alarm signals.
Or rather, they warn us with generic symptoms: slight fatigue, swelling under the eyes, or indeed, fatigue that can also result from anemia. But in the meantime, the body suffers. And unfortunately, too often we forget about renal health, even if there are subjects at risk of chronic renal failure: just think for example of diabetics, hypertensive, obese, people with dyslipidemia and in general the over 65. All these people should check kidney function at least once a year.