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Home > Medications > Anemia/Low Blood Count: Information for Patients

September 12, 2019 | Medications

What is anemia?

  • If your blood count is low in red blood cells, you may have anemia. 
  • Red blood cells contain hemoglobin (Hgb) which carries oxygen throughout the body. 
  • A low hemoglobin  (Hgb) is a common problem for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). 
  • Anemia is usually caused by low levels of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) being released by the kidney.  This hormone helps make red blood cells. 
  • Normal range for hemoglobin (Hgb) is approximately 120-160 g/l for females & 130-180 g/l for males. 

What are the symptoms of anemia?

  • Tiredness                                
  • Weakness                   
  • Headache                    
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low energy
  • Feeling cold
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Difficulty concentrating

While these symptoms are common to most people with anemia, you may respond differently.  Listen to your body & be aware of any changes. 

If your hemoglobin (Hgb) becomes very low, you may experience a racing heart rate & chest pain.  These symptoms should be assessed by a doctor right away. 

What can I do?

  • Take iron supplements or Eprex/Aranesp injections if prescribed.  Do NOT take iron pills at the same time as your calcium pills.
  • Pace yourself, stop when you feel tired.
  • If it is decided that you would benefit from treatment that requires needles for your anemia, you will need to have regular blood tests. 

(This sheet contains general information, & your symptoms & treatment may vary according to your circumstance.  If you have any specific questions, please contact your nurse, pharmacist, or doctor.)

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