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Understanding anemia
Understanding iron deficiency anemia
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Understanding Iron Deficiency Anemia

How Iron Deficiency Anemia
Is Diagnosed

It’s Important to See a Healthcare Professional

If you think you may be anemic, it is important to see a healthcare professional. If you are diagnosed with anemia, there are treatments available to help correct and manage it. If you don’t get treatment, your iron deficiency anemia will not go away—in fact, your symptoms are likely to become worse.

How Iron Deficiency Anemia Is Diagnosed

Typically, a healthcare professional will do three things in order to diagnose anemia: ask about your medical history and any symptoms you may be having; do a physical exam; and test a sample of your blood.

The main blood tests used to diagnose anemia are the hemoglobin or hematocrit tests. These are often done as part of what’s called a “complete blood count” or CBC. Other common tests that are used to diagnose iron deficiency anemia are the serum ferritin and TSAT.

Iron deficiency is something that develops gradually. When you don’t have enough iron coming into your system from food, your body is forced to use up its stores of iron. While this is going on, your hemoglobin levels may still appear normal. Eventually, iron deficiency progresses into iron deficiency anemia, and, at that point, a hemoglobin or hematocrit test will likely show an inadequate amount of hemoglobin in your blood.

If your blood work indicates iron deficiency anemia, your healthcare professional may want to perform further tests to find out the exact cause, or he or she may want to refer you to a hematologist or an internist.

Check out the “Could I Be Anemic?” Questionnaire, and share your results with your healthcare professional. By filling out this simple questionnaire, you can help your healthcare professional determine whether you have anemia.