Naturally High Hemoglobin Levels May Not Threaten Kidney
THURSDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Naturally occurring high
hemoglobin levels don't pose a threat to chronic kidney disease
(CKD) patients on dialysis, and there is no need to lower these
levels, a new study suggests.
Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries
Progressive anemia (red blood cell deficiency) is common in most
patients with advanced chronic kidney disease. The anemia must be
treated with medications, but treatment is controversial because
restoring hemoglobin levels to the normal range of about 14 g/dL
may lead to dangerous blood clots or even increased risk of death,
according to the researchers.
They wanted to find out if chronic kidney disease patients with
naturally high levels of hemoglobin were also at risk. They
examined four months of data from 29,796 dialysis patients in 12
countries enrolled in an international dialysis outcome study.
During those four months, 1.8 percent of the patients maintained
hemoglobin levels greater than 12 g/dL without the use of
medications. These patients were more likely to be men, to have
been receiving dialysis for more years, and to have underlying
cystic kidney disease.
High levels of hemoglobin were also associated with conditions
that lower oxygen levels in the blood, such as lung disease,
cardiovascular disease and smoking, according to an American
Society of Nephrology news release.
After adjusting for age, sex and other coexisting conditions,
the researchers found patients with naturally high levels of
hemoglobin did not have an increased risk of death, compared to
those with lower hemoglobin levels or with those taking medications
to maintain hemoglobin levels higher than 12 g/dL.
The study appears Dec. 16 in the
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The U.S. National Kidney Foundation has more about
chronic kidney disease.
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