How to Tell If You Have Iron Deficiency With an Anemia Blood Test
You If you’re feeling tired all the time, one possible cause could be anemia. It’s the most common blood disorder in the country and can be caused by several conditions. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most widespread type, but anemia can also be caused by cancer, kidney or liver disease, or a heavy menstrual period. While some people can treat their anemia with easy dietary changes, other people may need more intensive medical solutions. A simple anemia blood test at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic Direct Access Lab can help determine if your iron levels are deficient.
What Is Anemia?
Blood has three types of cells: white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. White blood cells fight infection and platelets help clot the blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen to your entire body from your lungs and also take carbon dioxide back to your lungs for you to exhale. They do this with the help of hemoglobin, a protein that is created with iron. If your body is not getting enough iron, your cells may not be getting enough oxygen. This can cause symptoms like:
- Feeling tired
- Feeling weak or dizzy
- Having cold feet or hands
- Having trouble breathing or an irregular heartbeat
- Looking pale
Iron-deficiency anemia can be caused by a lack of iron in your diet, diseases that prevent iron absorption like celiac disease and pregnancy.
Several rarer forms of anemia can be caused by more severe medical conditions. If you have any symptoms of anemia, it’s important to see a medical provider for testing. Untreated anemia can cause medical complications, especially in young children and pregnant women.
How Anemia Blood Tests Work
Diagnosing whether anemia is present is easy and only requires drawing blood. A complete blood count (CBC) draw, available at River’s Edge Hospital Direct Access Lab, can check levels of red and white blood cells, while also determining your levels of blood iron, ferritin and hemoglobin. This test only takes a few minutes, though it may take several days before you get your results.
Treatment for Anemia
Treatment for anemia will depend on the severity of the iron deficiency and the probable cause of anemia. Treatment could involve:
- Eating a diet high in iron, full of dark leafy green vegetables, beans, certain meats, eggs, tofu and fish
- Iron supplements, which could be over the counter or prescription
- Iron infusions or injections, which can immediately boost your iron levels if they are very low
- Medications to help your bone marrow produce more red blood cells
If your anemia is severe, you could need a blood transfusion. If internal bleeding is causing the anemia, you may need surgery.
Get your iron and hemoglobin levels tested at the River’s Edge Hospital Direct Access Lab. You don’t need Insurance or an appointment, and testing is offered at an affordable cost.
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