Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.
Your Location is set to Change My Location
Cone Health wants to help you get well and stay well. This section provides tools and information to achieve good health and maintain your well-being.
Learn what community resources are available to help you get well and stay well.
View health and wellness news you can use from Cone Health providers on
View Advanced Search OptionsView All Doctors
View All Locations
Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Anemia of Chronic Kidney Disease
Anemia means that you do not have enough red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to your body's tissues. If your tissues and organs do not get enough oxygen, they cannot work as well as they should.
Anemia is common in people who have chronic kidney disease. It can make you feel weak and tired. With treatment, you may feel better and enjoy life more.
Red blood cells are made by the bone marrow. To get the marrow to make red blood cells, the kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. When the kidneys are damaged, they may not make enough EPO. Without enough EPO, the bone marrow does not make enough red blood cells, and you have anemia.
In most cases, the more damaged the kidneys are, the more severe the anemia is. In general, people whose kidneys are working at one-third or less of their normal level may get anemia.
Anemia may develop early in kidney disease, but you may not have symptoms until the late stages of the disease.
As anemia gets worse, you may:
Your doctor can check for anemia by doing two blood tests:
Your doctor will repeat these tests to see how well treatment is working.
The two main treatments for anemia in kidney disease are erythropoietin (EPO) and iron.
Both treatments can be given through an IV during dialysis.
Other possible treatments include:
Current as of: October 31, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Martin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMitchell H. Rosner MD - Nephrology
Current as of:
October 31, 2018
Medical Review:Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Mitchell H. Rosner MD - Nephrology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Subscribe to our Wellness Matters e-newsletter, a monthly snapshot of the some of great wellness content from Cone Health providers.