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Anemia – Tests and Diagnosis

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The diagnosis for your anemia may be based on the findings of your family and medical histories, your physical examination and from procedures and tests.

Anemia frequently does not cause any symptom manifestation and the doctor may discover it when studying a different condition that may be related to your anemia.

Family and Medical Histories

The doctor will study your family history and may see if anyone in your family has suffered from anemia. He will also query you about any symptoms and signs of anemia you may be experiencing. He will also question you if you’ve had any condition or ailment that could have lead to anemia.

You need to inform your doctor if any member of your family has anemia, if you’ve had past anemia conditions before and the typical foods that you regularly eat.

Physical Examination

The purpose of your physical exam is to know the severity of your anemia and its probable cause(s). The doctor may:

  • Feel your stomach to assess the size of your spleen and liver
  • Listen for sounds of uneven or rapid breathing in your lungs
  • Listen for any irregular or rapid heart beat you may have

Specific exams like a rectal or pelvic exam may be done by the doctor to identify the areas of the body where hemorrhaging occurs.

Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

Some blood tests and procedures may be required to know the kind of anemia you have and the degree of its severity.

Complete blood count – This test is usually the first one given to someone suspected of having anemia. It measures the levels of hematocrit and hemoglobin of a person. Hematocrit is the rate of space that red blood cells use in your blood. Anemia is more or less diagnosed if the amount of hematocrit or hemoglobin in the blood is low.

The doctor may consider the patients ethnic or racial background since the typical range of hematocrit or hemoglobin levels is different among different races.

A CBC also measures the amount of platelets, red and white blood cells in the person’s blood. Results beyond or below normal can indicate an underlying health problem, infection, a blood disorder or anemia in the patient.

The CBC also measures MCV or mean corpuscular volume which is a measurement of the size of the patient’s red blood cells which can help them verify if the patient is suffering from anemia. If the patient’s red blood cells are smaller than normal and healthy red blood cells, it is an indication of iron-deficiency anemia.

Other Tests and Procedures

  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis – Hemoglobin electrophoresis can identify the kinds of hemoglobin you have in your blood and can help the doctor diagnose the type of anemia you have.
  • Reticulocyte count – This is a test that determines how many fresh red blood cells you have in your body and is used to see if the bone marrow produces the right amount of red blood cells in your body.
  • Iron level in your body and blood tests – These tests usually include serum ferritin and serum iron tests. Other tests of these kinds include total iron-binding capacity and transferrin level tests to measure iron levels in your blood.

You can get anemia from potentially a wide number of causes. The doctor can recommend tests to determine conditions like vitamin inadequacy (lack of folic acid and/or vit B12), lead poisoning and kidney failure.

If you are diagnosed with anemia because of internal hemorrhage, the doctor may require you to undergo several tests to see what part of the body is suffering from hemorrhage. A stool test is used to determine the presence of blood in the stool and can be done at the clinic or at home. The stool sample will be sent to a lab for analysis.

If blood is present in the stool, other tests may again be required to locate the specific area of bleeding. One typical test done is endoscopy, a procedure that uses a tube attached with a tiny camera to view the digestive tract’s lining.

A marrow test can also be preformed to see whether the patient’s bone marrow is producing enough blood cells to sufficiently supply the body of red blood cells.

Christina Prieto, AP
1617 Hillcrest St
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: 407-234-6454

Written by Valerie

October 27th, 2013 at 3:48 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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