How is anemia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider can perform blood tests to tell if you have anemia. The main test is a complete blood count test, also called the CBC. The CBC can tell you how many red blood cells you have, how big they are and what shape they are. Blood tests can also tell you if you are low in vitamins B12 and B9 and how much iron your body has stored.

The type and number of blood and other tests will depend on what type of anemia your provider thinks that you have.

  • Blood and urine tests can indicate if you have hemolytic anemia.
  • A colonoscopy or fecal occult blood tests of your stool may be suggested to find gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Your provider might order a bone marrow biopsy (removal of bone marrow tissue) in certain rare cases.

The type of anemia and its cause will allow your healthcare provider to determine the right kind of treatment.

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