Iron matters for patients with chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major health problem in the United States, impacting more than 25 million Americans, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Kidneys perform many important functions in the body, including regulating and controlling the production of red blood cells. When kidneys are not fully functioning, the production of red blood cells can decline and cause anemia in many CKD patients. A major cause of this anemia is iron deficiency. In fact, according to the U.S. Census and National Institutes of Health, there are more than 1.6 million CKD patients in the United States living with iron deficiency anemia, commonly referred to as IDA.
Iron matters for CKD patients because it is necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells. Unfortunately, IDA often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and is, therefore, left untreated, which leaves patients living with the chronic symptoms of anemia. Extreme fatigue is just one of the major consequences of IDA. CKD patients with IDA may also suffer from dizziness, headaches, coldness in hands and feet, shortness of breath and frequent infections, among other symptoms.
“Because I have chronic kidney disease, I need to have my iron levels checked regularly. When I was first diagnosed with IDA, my biggest symptoms were extreme fatigue and sluggishness,” said James Cann, a CKD patient from Baltimore, Md. who was diagnosed with IDA three years ago. “People who are diagnosed with IDA should talk to their doctors about the many treatment options available. No one should have to suffer the terrible effects of IDA.”
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