New studies have shown the dangers of iron deficiency for those suffering from nondialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (ND-CKD). Even if a person does not have anemia, they are looking at a life of deteriorating health, known as a health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Collaborators in one such study used Chronic Kidney Disease Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (CKDopps) data. They looked at 2500 patients with stage 3b to 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD), mean age of 67 with mean hemoglobin levels of 12.6 dL, transferrin saturation (TSAT) of 26% and ferritin levels of 196 ng/mL. The cohort had heart failure in 14% of its members.
In patients with TSAT of 15% or less, high ferritin (300 ng/mL or more), and low ferritin (less than 50 ng/mL), there were lower scores on the physical component summary of the KDQOL-36. The mental component summary or depression index was unchanged.
It can be difficult knowing how to maintain iron levels naturally through diet without compromising your healthy kidney diet, because a lot of foods rich in iron are unfortunately, also high in things like potassium or protein which kidney sufferers need to maintain lower levels of. That being said, it’s important to maintain adequate iron levels to keep yourself feeling strong and healthy. Iron supplementation has been shown to be a great alternative to getting more iron solely through diet. Check with your healthcare provider before adding any new supplements to your kidney care regimen, but also be sure to inquire about them if you suspect low iron levels are causing anemia or anemia-like symptoms such as weakness, headaches, etc.
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