Erythropoietic stress and anemia in diabetes mellitus
Anemia is one of the world's most common preventable conditions, yet it is often overlooked, especially in people with diabetes mellitus. Diabetes-related chronic hyperglycemia can lead to a hypoxic environment in the renal interstitium, which results in impaired production of erythropoietin by the peritubular fibroblasts and subsequent anemia. Anemia in patients with diabetes mellitus might contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of cardiovascular disease and aggravate diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy. Anemia occurs earlier in patients with diabetic renal disease than in nondiabetic individuals with chronic kidney disease. Although erythropoietin has been used to treat renal anemia for nearly two decades, debate persists over the optimal target hemoglobin level. Most guidelines recommend that hemoglobin levels be maintained between 105g/l and 125g/l. The suggested role of anemia correction—to prevent the progression of left ventricular hypertrophy in patients with diabetes mellitus—is yet to be established. However, an emphasis on regular screening for anemia, alongside that for other diabetes-related complications, might help to delay the progression of vascular complications in these patients.