Erythropoietin is a hormone majorly produced by kidneys which is important for the production of red blood cells carrying oxygen from lungs to different parts of the body. Once erythropoietin is released by the kidney, it is transported to the bone marrow, where it stimulates the production of red blood cells. It is active for a shorter period of time, after which it gets eliminated from our body through urine.
Kidney cells involved in the production of erythropoietin are oxygen sensitive and is released when there is a low blood oxygen level. This indicates a low number of red blood cells (anemia) or decreased hemoglobin. A total amount of erythropoietin released by the kidney depends upon the oxygen level in blood and continues to release it until the level of oxygen becomes normal.
This simple test helps you to evaluate the erythropoietin levels in your blood and can also determine the cause of anemia. Decreased production of erythropoietin in individuals with kidney injury or kidney damage can be diagnosed by this test. It is also useful in detecting bone marrow disorders (myeloproliferative neoplasms or myelodysplastic syndrome) and certain kidney tumors.
Testing Erythropoietin levels in your body become essential, as its elevated levels may indicate conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, hemolytic anemia, bone marrow suppression which results in anemia, pregnancy and testosterone therapy.
Low levels of erythropoietin may indicate chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV infection, estrogen therapy, and polycythemia vera.