Physician

How Is Anemia Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of anemia is made by your physician based upon your medical history, a physical exam, and results from tests and procedures.

Because anemia doesn’t always cause symptoms, your doctor may find out you have it while checking for another condition.

Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

Complete Blood Count is a blood test that looks at the different components in your blood.

The test checks your hemoglobin and hematocrit (hee-MAT-oh-crit) levels. Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body. Hematocrit is a measure of how much space red blood cells take up in your blood. A low level of hemoglobin or hematocrit is a sign of anemia.

It also looks at the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in your blood. Abnormal results may be a sign of anemia, an infection, another blood disorder or some other condition.

Lastly it looks a mean corpuscular volume which measures the average size of your red blood cells and will help your physician diagnose the type of anemia you have.

Other Tests and Procedures

Because anemia has many causes, you also may be tested for conditions such as kidney failure,  and vitamin deficiencies (lack of vitamins, such as B12 and folic acid).

If your doctor thinks that you have anemia due to internal bleeding, he or she may suggest several tests to look for the source of the bleeding.

Your doctor also may want to do bone marrow tests to see if the bone marrow is healthy and making enough blood cells.

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