Anemia is a common medical condition. If you have signs and symptoms suggestive of anemia your doctor will examine you and recommend tests to confirm the diagnosis. Read to know more on how anemia is diagnosed.
- History and physical examination: Your doctor will take into account your complete medical history and do a thorough physical examination. Medical history may include questions regarding your diet, family history of anemia, bleeding and any other associated symptoms. During the physical examination your doctor will examine your heart beat blood pressure, pulses and breathing. The doctor might as well examine your abdomen to feel the size of your liver and spleen.
- Complete blood count (CBC): This test is done to count the number of the three types of blood cells in a sample of your blood. The level of red blood cells (hematocrit) and hemoglobin is assessed to confirm the type and severity of anemia. The normal adult hematocrit value in men varies from 38.8 - 50 percent and 34.9 - 44.5 percent in women. Normal adult hemoglobin values in men ranges from 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter and 12 to 15.5 grams per deciliter in women.
- Peripheral blood smear examination: A blood smear (examination of the blood cells under a microscope) is done to determine the size and shape of your red blood cells. This can help to make a diagnosis like in iron deficiency anemia, the red blood cells appear smaller and paler in colour than normal; in vitamin B12 deficiency anemia red blood cells are enlarged; in sickle cell anemia the shape of the red blood cells are distorted.
- Additional tests: Many other tests like assessing the amount of iron and its associated proteins in the blood, bone marrow examination may be done to determine the underlying cause of anemia
These are some of the tests that are done in a person with anemia. There are several other tests which may be done. Your doctor will not do all the tests at one go. The tests will be recommended based on your symptoms, CBC or complete blood count result and other examination findings.
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