Nephrology News: Toxic Effects Of IV Iron Which Most CKD And Dialysis Patients Frequently Use

Most Chronic Kidney Disease patients know the importance of iron and how it helps to make Hemoglobin (transports oxygen through the body) which is found in red blood cells. When iron is limited the red blood cells in a Chronic Kidney Disease or Dialysis patient's body will not have  enough Hemoglobin to carry oxygen which will result in Iron Deficiency Anemia. Due to the fact that patients who conduct Dialysis often need extra iron given their high rate of deficiency, it is alarming that "iron can accelerate Cardiovascular Disease, promote infections, aggravate viral Hepatitis, and worsen Diabetes and Diabetic complications in End Stage Renal Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease patients," according to a study published in Nephrology News. 

Side effects associated with Iron Deficiency Anemia include: General fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, strange cravings for non-food items, such as dirt, ice, and clay, tingling or a crawling feeling in the legs, and swelling or soreness in the tongue. All of these side effects hamper a Chronic Kidney Disease patient's quality of life. Dialysis patients specifically suffer with Anemia because some foods that are rich in iron like red meats and beans may be heavily limited in the recommended Renal (Kidney) diet. Also the small amount of blood left in a Dialysis Machine Dialyzer builds up over time and can eventually contribute to blood loss and Iron Deficiency Anemia. "In fact, when you are on Dialysis, you will probably need extra iron because you will be taking another Anemia medicine that uses up your iron," said the National Kidney Foundation. 

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Nearly all Dialysis patients require intravenous (IV) iron to supply the body with appropriate Hemoglobin Levels. Unfortunately, intravenously administered iron is often used routinely with inadequate attention to the amount of iron that is already in the body or severity of inflammation (swelling). This has lead to an "epidemic of iron overload" in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community. Iron overload can leave Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients with: Chronic Fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, liver disease (cirrhosis, liver cancer), Diabetes, irregular heart rhythms, heart attack or heart failure, and skin color changes (bronze, ashen-gray green), as noted by For these reasons, "IV iron should be used judiciously in Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients," suggested Nephrology News. Also, patients should consider talking to their Nephrologists about taking iron orally which has been noted to have more "internal checks and balances" and in many cases show less side effects. 

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Correcting Anemia is very important because Chronic Kidney Disease patients will have a better quality of life, more energy to do daily tasks, ability to exercise and it will reduce the chances of having heart problems. If you are suffering Iron Deficiency Anemia you will know that your Hemoglobin is improving once you feel better and more able to perform your usual daily activities. 

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Still, patients should consistently ask their Dialysis Nurses for the results of the Hemoglobin (Hb), iron and other important tests in order to keep record and monitor progress. How do you manage to avoid Iron Deficiency Anemia? Share your best practices with the over 24,100 Friends on the Facebook Fan Page. Your voice is important to us so share it with the community. In fact, your suggestion may be highlighted for the peer-to-peer Tip Of The Day. 

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