Ayurvedic treatment for Anemia in kidney disease

Anemia in kidney disease

Know More on Kidney Diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Anemia in kidney disease Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS ANEMIA IN KIDNEY DISEASE?

Anemia is a condition where the number of red blood cells in blood is lower than normal. It is majorly a nutritional deficiency related condition. Yet, there is a strong observed effect of anemia in people with kidney disease – especially those with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Additionally, many people having total kidney function loss, or failure, will have anemia.1

Ayurveda has a detailed mention of the condition of Anemia as there are various causes of unhealthy pale appearance or anemia (Pandu). The vitiation of both rasa (plasma, which contains nutrients and minerals) and rakta (blood) dhatus, which are otherwise essential for the nourishment of every cell in the body, is responsible for Pandu. The role of Rasa dhatu is to provide nourishment (tarpanakaraka) and nutrition (pustikaraka) to blood (rakta). Pandu therefore occurs due to improper functioning of rasa, leading to malnourishment of body and deterioration of other dhatus like rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle), meda (fat), and asthi (bone) sequentially.2

 

Causes

Anemia in kidney disease

ANEMIA IN KIDNEY DISEASE CAUSES

Kidneys perform many important functions apart from filtering the blood. One such important activity is production of a substance called EPO (Erythropoietin) which is essential for the making of new red blood cells (RBC). As the functions of kidneys are hampered in kidney disease, the production of EPO gets affected and results in low RBC production, and hence causing anemia. In advanced stages of kidney disease, where kidney dialysis (life support system to filter out harmful wastes from blood) is required, blood loss during kidney dialysis also results in anemia.1

Symptoms

Anemia in kidney disease

ANEMIA IN KIDNEY DISEASE SYMPTOMS

The common signs and symptoms of anemia in kidney disease will be similar to that of general anemia. These include: 1

  • General weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Unhealthy, pale appearance of face, nails & eyes
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in chest

Diagnosis

Anemia in kidney disease

ANEMIA IN KIDNEY DISEASE DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor may initially perform a physical examination or suggest a simple blood test to check for your hemoglobin and RBC levels. In order to establish the cause behind your anemia, your doctor may recommend some additional blood tests. These include:1,2

  • Complete blood count (CBC) – to find to number, size and count of RBCs and the hemoglobin content in the RBCs
  • Blood iron and serum ferritin level – to find the iron content in your body
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate level – as these are important for RBC production
  • Special blood tests – to find out rare causes of anemia, including an immune attack on your RBCs, blood clotting defects, defects in enzymes, etc
  • Tests to check how quickly your RBCs are made or what their average life span is

Management

Anemia in kidney disease

ANEMIA IN KIDNEY DISEASE AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

Iron supplementation is very important in the management of anemia in kidney disease. This is usually done through dietary changes and pharmacological sources such as iron supplements/ tablets. For those undergoing dialysis, erythropoietin is required.1

In Ayurveda, anemia is managed through internal oleation (intake of medicated Ghee or Oil), medicated emesis, and purgation. Additionally, a diet that is rich in iron and herbs that are rich in nutrients, as together; these provide nourishment for the raktavaha strotas (Blood channels). 3

Additionally, Ayurveda also recommends a combination of healthy diet (ahar) and lifestyle changes (vihar) in order to manage the condition effectively. These include:3

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Consume old rice, Wheat, Moong dal etc
  • Consume foods that are light (laghu) and easily digestible
  • Make it a habit to cook food in iron pots and pans
  • Include healthy foods in your everyday diet. These include chana dal (gram), green leafy vegetables, beet roots and carrots
  • Increase intake of meat and eggs
  • Avoid consuming foods that are conflicting or opposing in nature

Bad habits such as smoking, alcohol, opposing foods are to be avoided.

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Avoid excessive exercise as that may lead to physical and mental stress

Avoid lifestyle habits that harm your body, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

FAQS

Anemia in kidney disease
  1. How does stones form in our kidneys?

Many a times, kidney stones will not have a single cause, and there could be several factors that increase its risk. Higher concentration of crystal-forming substances in the urine — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid can cause crystallization of these salts. Additionally, lack of substances in urine which will prevent crystal formation end up creating the perfect environment for formation of kidney stones.

  1. What is pyelonephritis?

The infection of the kidney is medically termed as pyelonephritis. It is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that usually starts from the lower organs such as the urethra or urinary bladder and gradually moves up to the kidneys. Such infections need immediate medical attention as if left untreated they can cause  permanent damage to the kidneys.

  1. How does CKD develop?

CKD happens due to any secondary condition that impairs the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are-

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation of kidneys
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Enlarged prostate problems, kidney stones
  • Some cancers
  • Recurrent kidney infection
  1. Do children suffer from kidney disease? How?

Children can get affected with many kidney related diseases. The commonest of these are either an acute kidney disease or chronic long term disease.1 Having a kidney disease can mean treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions in children. 

As in adults, the causes of kidney disease in children are various secondary conditions of situations, which will impair the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are -

  • Developmental defects of birth
  • Any serious infection
  • Any hereditary condition
  • Any serious major diseases
  • Trauma
  • Blockage of urine
  1. What is acute kidney failure? How is it different form chronic failure?

Acute kidney failure means that the kidneys are unable to filter any waste products from the body and this condition develops rather quickly. Due to the failure of the kidneys to filter blood, dangerous levels of waste accumulates in the body causing severe toxic conditions.Chronic kidney failure on the other hand develops gradually over a few weeks, months or even years.

  1. How does a high BP affect the kidneys?

The condition of having a high blood pressure over a long period of time is known to cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys. This damage results in a reduced ability of the kidneys to perform their functions. This is because a high blood pressure requires the blood vessels inside the kidneys to stretch more than usual. Over a period of time the tiny blood vessels of the kidneys start showing scars due to stretching, leading to various kidney diseases. 

  1. What is proteinuria how is it caused?

Proteinuria simply means the presence of ‘protein’ in the urine. This is mostly indicative of poor functioning of the kidneys whereby the proteins are being leaked in to the urine and thrown out of the body. While some amount of protein is found in urine, the quantity increase in kidney damage.

The causes of proteinuria are physiological (meaning temporary), such as after exercise, cold climate, fevers etc; as well as pathological (due to an underlying condition) such as diabetes, kidney tumors, heart disease, liver failure etc.

  1. Why do we have anemia in a kidney disease?

Kidneys perform many important functions apart from filtering he blood. One such vital activity is production of a substance called EPO (Erythropoeitin) which is essential for manufacture of new red blood cells. As the functions of kidneys are hampered in kidney disease, the production of EPO gets affected and results in low RBC production and hence anemia. In advanced stage of kidney disease, where hemodialysis is required, blood loss during hemodialysis also results in anemia.

  1. What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis refers to the swelling of a kidney that occurs due to accumulation of urine in them. For some reasons, due to a blockage or obstruction of the ureters, the urine being formed in the kidneys cannot move out and gets retained inside the kidneys leading to swelling of the kidneys. This can happen either in any one or both of the kidneys. 

  1. Why are women more prone to getting a UTI?

Women are more likely than men to get an UTI. This is because of the shorter length or the urethra - that allows infections to travel upwards quickly. Additionally, in women, due to close proximity of the anal opening  and the urethral opening, many GI tract infections (Such as those caused by E. coli) spread to the urinary tract.

References

Anemia in kidney disease
  1. Anemia in Kidney disease. Available at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/kidney-disease/anemia-in-kidney-disease-and-dialysis/Pages/facts.aspx accessed Sept 12th 2016
  2. Understanding Anemia- Diagnosis and treatment. Web MD. Available at http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-anemia-treatment accessed Sept 20th 2016
  3. Rashmi TM et al. Role of Taramandura guda in pandu with special reference to iron deficiency anaemia. Int. J. Res. Ayurveda Pharm. 2014;5(6):697-701

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