What are the signs and symptoms of anemia of chronic disease and renal failure?

Updated: Apr 13, 2020
  • Author: Gates B Colbert, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Although the diseases that lead to anemia, such as malignancy or chronic kidney disease (CKD), may cause obvious symptoms, the anemia itself tends to cause quite nonspecific symptoms. Clinicians must be wary of the tendency to dismiss these symptoms as insignificant—for example, as being due to old age—when in fact they should serve as alarming signals of disease or pathology.

Patients with anemia of chronic disease or CKD may present with the following symptoms:

  • Generalized weakness or malaise, easy fatigability
  • Generalized body aches, or myalgias
  • Orthostatic symptoms (eg, lightheadedness, dizziness)
  • Syncope or near-syncope
  • Decreased exercise tolerance
  • Chest discomfort
  • Palpitations
  • Cold intolerance
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of appetite

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