Dialysis, CKD, and anemia

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What is anemia?

  • Anemia means you do not have enough healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout your body
  • If untreated, anemia can cause problems for your heart and your brain

Signs and symptoms of anemia

Talk to your doctor or any member of your healthcare team if you feel any of these important indicators of anemia

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Loss of concentration
  • Sensitivity to cold

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Your doctor orders blood tests to check how healthy your red blood cells (RBCs) are, and to see if you have enough iron.

Tests that show the condition of RBCs:

  • Hemoglobin (Hb): a protein in the RBC that contains iron and carries oxygen
  • Hematocrit (Hct): a percentage of RBCs within a sample of blood

Tests that show where iron is in your body and how it is being used:

  • Ferritin: a protein that reflects stored iron
  • Transferrin saturation (TSAT): a percentage of a protein that takes the iron from the storage protein (ferritin), or the iron that you are
    being treated with, and brings it to the bone marrow where it can be used to build healthy RBCs

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Why is an intravenous iron important?

Iron taken in any form, including pills taken by mouth, can help fight anemia. But dialysis patients receiving EPO often need an intravenous iron
such as Venofer (iron sucrose injection, USP) to meet the demands of their EPO therapy.

Treatment with Venofer may:

  • Help your body make healthy red blood cells
  • Help carry oxygen throughout your body
  • Improve response to your erythropoietin therapy