Anemia and Kidney Disease
Anemia is common in people with kidney disease. Anemia may begin to develop in the early stages of kidney disease, when patients still have 20 percent to 50 percent of normal kidney function. Anemia tends to worsen as kidney disease progresses and is most often due to the diseased kidneys inability to produce sufficient erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. An erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) is administered to patients with kidney disease to correct their anemia. Patients with chronic kidney disease are often treated with intravenous (IV) iron supplements to increase the effectiveness of ESA; both iron and ESA need to be present at the same time to be effective in treating anemia.