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Anemia Specialist

Metro Renal Associates

Nephrologists located in Washington, DC & Capitol Heights, MD

If you find yourself feeling weak, tired, and short of breath, the cause may be anemia, a shortage of red blood cells. The team of nephrologists at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, is experienced in treating this common symptom of kidney disease. To get help for your anemia and start feeling like yourself again, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Anemia Q & A

What is anemia?

Anemia is a condition where your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. By depriving you of red blood cells, anemia stops one of your body’s main processes for giving you energy from working properly.

Anemia makes you feel very weak and tired, so you’ll have trouble participating in your everyday activities. If you have anemia, you may also:

  • Feel depressed and generally not like yourself
  • Appear pale and sickly
  • Have trouble breathing
  • Not want to eat
  • Feel mentally foggy

There are many causes of anemia, as there are many reasons you might not have enough red blood cells, such as your body doesn’t produce enough, destroys them, or you lose them through bleeding. Anemia is especially common in people with chronic kidney disease as most people with chronic kidney disease develop anemia at some point.

How does anemia relate to kidney disease?

Healthy kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. This chemical messenger tells your body to continue making blood cells. One way kidney disease affects the function of your kidneys is that they’ll stop making enough EPO to provide you with the supply of red blood cells you need.

Many people with chronic kidney disease lose significant amounts of blood when they undergo dialysis. Blood loss also, by definition, means a reduction in red blood cell count.

One of the most common causes of anemia is an iron deficiency. Iron is a nutrient that helps your body make red blood cells. However, many foods that contain iron, such as red meat and beans, aren’t advisable to eat when you’re undergoing dialysis. Without guidance, people with kidney disease may struggle to find foods they can eat that deliver the iron they need.

How is anemia treated?

The team at Metro Renal Associates determines a treatment for your anemia based on what’s causing it. If your anemia results from kidney disease, your provider may recommend:

  • Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), medications that compensate for your lack of EPO by telling your body to produce more red blood cells
  • Iron supplements, in pill or shot form
  • Red blood cell transfusion, a procedure where you’ll receive red blood cells from a donor through an IV, which is intended more to relieve symptoms than to treat the causes of your anemia

To get treatment for anemia and regain the energy you’ve lost, call Metro Renal Associates or schedule an appointment online today.