Anemia & Kidney Disease

It is common for those with kidney disease to develop anemia. Learn more about this condition and how it is treated.

Anemia & Kidney Disease Overview

Anemia is a common complication for individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) that can get progressively worse as a person’s kidney function declines. Anemia happens when your body produces too few red blood cells, and if anemia is severe enough, it can cause depression, fatigue, heart problems and even stroke.

What causes anemia in chronic kidney disease?

The kidneys play an important role not only by filtering impurities from your blood, but also by releasing certain hormones that help control your blood pressure and stimulate your body to produce red blood cells. When kidney function begins to decline, the kidneys produce lower hormone levels (Erythropoietin), which usually promotes red blood cell development. This is what causes anemia.

How do I know if I have CKD-related anemia?

While the symptoms of anemia can vary, you may experience any of the following:

  • Fatigue, weakness and trouble concentrating
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Aches and pains
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Chest pain or a racing heartbeat
  • Headaches

These symptoms can also indicate other conditions, so it is important to bring them up with your primary care provider or nephrologist.

How is CKD-related anemia treated?

Depending on how advanced your anemia and chronic kidney disease are, your nephrologist may recommend one or many of the following treatment options:

  • Dietary modifications – Adjusting your diet so that you are eating more foods that are rich in iron may be enough to treat your anemia. That said, some foods that are rich in iron can also be difficult for the kidneys to process, like beef or pork. Luckily, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, whole grains and leafy greens are also rich in iron, but they require less work from the kidneys to process, so there are many options to choose from.
  • Vitamins – Your care team may recommend that you begin taking vitamin supplements to assist your body with red blood cell development.
  • Iron IV Infusions – Iron can be delivered to the body through an intravenous infusion. For patients on dialysis, this may be done during your treatment.
  • ESA Injections– An erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) can be delivered either via IV infusion or a shot to help promote the creation of red blood cells in your body.

Why Choose Hattiesburg Clinic?

At Hattiesburg Clinic, our board-certified nephrologists are some of the most experienced and tenured kidney care doctors in the region, providing high-quality treatment for those living with kidney disease. Diagnosis and timely management of the complications of kidney disease can be half the battle, offering patients a higher quality of life and heading off disease progression down the road. Our primary goal is prevention, and we focus on coordinating your care with each of your doctors here within Hattiesburg Clinic’s network to achieve that result. Contact one of our practices below with any questions or to make an appointment.

Hattiesburg, MS
Vascular Access Center
5909 Hwy. 49
Ste. 15
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
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Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Hattiesburg, MS
Hattiesburg Clinic - Main
415 S. 28th Ave.
4th Floor
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
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Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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