Acta Diabetologica

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp s13-s17

First online:

Anaemia in diabetes

  • S. ThomasAffiliated withDiabetes and Endocrinology Day Centre
  • , M. RampersadAffiliated withGKT School of Medicine, King’s College

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Anaemia is a common complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD). It is often more severe and occurs at an earlier stage in patients with diabetic nephropathy than in patients with CKD of other causes. This anaemia results from erythropoietin deficiency, which seems to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes even at relatively “normal” levels of serum creatinine. Early erythropoietin- deficiency anaemia occurs in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although the prevalence may be higher in type 1 diabetes. However, numerically most patients with erythropoietin-deficiency anaemia have type 2 diabetes as it is a much more common disease. There is also a greater prevalence in women than men but this is not related to iron stores. In addition, erythropoietin-deficiency anaemia is associated with the presence of autonomic neuropathy in patients with diabetes. Small studies have suggested that recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO; epoetin) treatment is effective in correcting erythropoietin-deficiency anaemia in patients with diabetes. Additionally, rhEPO therapy improves quality of life and well-being in these patients. Studies also suggest that treatment with rhEPO to restore a normal haematocrit ameliorates orthostatic hypotension. Given the high cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetic nephropathy, it is important to determine in prospective clinical trials whether early anaemia correction can also improve cardiovascular outcomes.

Key words

Erythropoietin deficiency Anaemia Diabetes Nephropathy