How to Diagnose Anemia?
The most common haematological disorder seen in general medical practice is known as Anemia where there is a low amount of Red blood cells (RBC) or the haemoglobin in the patient's blood. The most common cause of Anemia is iron deficiency. There are various risk factors involved with the condition of Anemia which can go worse if not diagnosed or treated on time. This current article will talk about some of the most important ways to diagnose anemia, which usually includes the physical examinations and tests conducted by a medical professional.
An Overview on Anemia:
Anemia is the most common blood disorder which can affect males, females, adults and children. In this type of haematological disorder, the patient experiences a lower RBC or Red blood cells count or a reduced amount of the haemoglobin in his or her blood. If a female has a haemoglobin level less than 12 g/dL, she is probably suffering from anemia. Similarly a haemoglobin level less than 14 gm/dL in males is considered to be a symptom of anemia in males.
Anemia is caused due to lack of haemoglobin or a reduced RBC level in the blood. RBC or Red blood cells contain haemoglobin in them which is a protein that carries oxygen from lungs to various parts of the body. When there is an inadequate supply of oxygen in the blood due to lack of haemoglobin or reduced RBCs, there grows the symptoms of anemia in a person.
Most common causes of anemia include the iron deficiency and vitamin deficiency. There are chances one may suffer from anemia due to any illness that can cause blood loss, internal bleeding, or any kind of injury causing severe blood loss. It must be noted if anemia is left untreated; it may lead to serious issues in a person.
Below we will know about some of the most crucial diagnosis tests and examinations for anemia.
How to Diagnose Anemia?
Diagnosis of Anemia Beyond the Physical Examinations and Tests:
Apart from the physical tests and examinations, you may be asked for your family and medical histories by your doctor so as to diagnose the cause or type of anemia in you. Usually knowing about your medical and family histories begins the diagnosis procedure for anemia.
You must inform your doctor about the medicines you take, about your regular diet and if any or your family member has anemia. You may also be asked if you have donated blood in a regular interval. In case of women, the doctor may ask about the menstrual pattern, if they are experiencing heavy bleeding that may be the cause of anemia.
Physical Examinations and Tests to Diagnose Anemia:
Now, here in this section we will know about some of the physical tests and examinations which help your doctor diagnose anemia.
Physical Examinations to Diagnose Anemia:
# You will be physically examined by the doctor to know how severe anemia is and also to know the underlying causes of the condition in you. Following are some of the physical examinations doctor may go for.
- He or she would check for any irregular heartbeat by listening to your heart
- He or she would listen to your lungs for rapid or uneven breathing
- The doctor would feel your abdomen so as to check the size of your liver and spleen. Apart from all these, there may be some more physical examinations conducted by your doctor, which may include the rectal examination and the pelvic examination.
# A Rectal examination is usually required if there is a bleeding from your bottom. This is a common way to find out if there is something in the gastrointestinal tract that causes bleeding.
# A Pelvic examination is done in case the doctor suspects if there is a heavy menstrual bleeding that may be causing anemia.
Tests for Diagnosis of Anemia:
# Complete Blood Count or CBC to Diagnose Anemia: Complete blood count of CBC is the first test done so as to diagnose anemia. This is a diagnosis test which checks your haemoglobin and haematocrit levels in your blood. Haemoglobin is the protein rich in iron and found in RBC that carries oxygen to the body from the lungs; while Haematocrit is the measure of how much space the RBCs take up in your blood. In case there is a low level of haemoglobin or haematocrit, there is a sign of anemia in you. Apart from this, the complete blood count blood test also checks the number of RBCs, WBCs and platelets present in your blood. Any abnormal result might be depicts any of the blood disorder including anemia, blood infection or any other abnormal condition in the blood. The CBC test can also tell about the cause of anemia as it also looks at the MCV or the mean corpuscular volume which is the average size of your RBC and can give you a clue about the underlying cause of anemia. For example, in case the anemia is due to iron deficiency, the RBC would be measuring smaller in size.
# Haemoglobin Electrophoresis: This is one more test to diagnose the type of haemoglobins you have in your blood which in turn will help you know about the type of anemia you are suffering from.
# Reticulocyte Count: This is a test which can show the number of young RBCs present in the blood. This can show if your bone marrow is able to make the RBCs at a correct rate as essential or not.
# Test to Diagnose the Level of Iron in Blood: There are tests like serum ferritin, serum iron, total iron binding capacity tests etc which can check the level of iron present in the blood. This could find the cause of anemia if there is a iron deficiency anemia in you.
# Tests to Diagnose the Level of Vitamin B12 and Folate: There are also tests for finding the level of Vitamin B12 and folate in the blood of a patient which would suggest if folate or vitamin B12 deficiency is causing the anemia. Folate and Vitamin B12 both play an important role in producing blood cells in the body. So, a lower level of these substances in the blood may cause anemia.
Once your diagnosis is done and doctor has understood your condition of anemia, known the underlying cause and the type of anemia you are suffering from, he or she may prescribe you the essential treatments for improving the condition. You may be prescribed with iron, vitamin supplements, may be informed about the proper diet for improving the haemoglobin level in the blood and reduce the symptoms of anemia in you or may also be prescribed with the appropriate medications based on your condition in anemia.