19 Jul Signs You Could Be Anemic
Have you been abnormally tired lately? Or frequently feeling dizzy? While there are many potential causes for these symptoms, there is a chance you might be anemic. Fortunately, testing for and treating anemia can be a fairly simple process. Learn more about symptoms and how to test for anemia in this latest Medical Arts Laboratory blog post.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is when your body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to bring oxygen to the tissues of your body. These red blood cells contain the essential protein hemoglobin, which is where the necessary oxygen for your body is stored on a cellular level. You may have heard of anemia before, but you may also be wondering how you get anemia. You can become anemic if your body can’t produce enough red blood cells, if you lose red blood cells faster than they can be replaced due to bleeding, or if your body is destroying red blood cells. There are actually a few different types of anemia depending on the causes. However, iron deficiency anemia is the most common type.
Symptoms of anemia are different for every person, depending upon the cause. The symptoms can also indicate other medical conditions, which is why it’s important to consult with your doctor if you think you may be anemic. Common symptoms include:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Low energy and weakness
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Pale or yellowing skin tone
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Irregular or fast heartbeats
- Cold hands and feet
- Pica (eating non-foods, particularly in children with anemia)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially with great frequency, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss potential causes, testing and treatment. In addition to iron deficiency anemia, other common causes include vitamin B-12 deficiency and some chronic diseases. You may be at a higher risk for being diagnosed with anemia if you are pregnant or menstruating, have intestinal disorders, are not getting enough vitamins or iron in your diet, have chronic health conditions or a family history of anemia, or are over the age of 65.
Treating anemia as soon as it is detected is very important. Without treatment, anemia can potentially lead to extreme fatigue, complications with pregnancy, serious heart conditions (such as high or low blood pressure and heart failure) and even death. The first step your doctor will likely take to see if you have anemia will likely be a physical exam. After this, the next step will be blood testing.
Blood Testing for Anemia
Anemia is best detected via blood testing, which can give a complex insight to the cause, type and scope of anemia you may be experiencing. Symptoms of anemia can often go undetected, overlooked or even not be present at all. Annual blood exams are one way to ensure that you are being proactive in screening for anemia and other health conditions. If your doctor suspects you may be anemic, some common blood tests for iron deficiency anemia may include:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) — Checks for red blood cell count.
- Serum Iron — Detects the amount of iron.
- Ferritin — Sees how much iron your body is storing.
- Transferrin — Tracks the presence of the iron-carrying protein.
Depending on the suspected type of anemia, other blood tests may be conducted, as well. Medical Arts Laboratory provides an extensive menu of blood testing services, including many hematology tests for anemia. In addition to the blood tests listed above, we also offer vitamin B-12 testing, folate testing and other specialized blood tests to detect other forms of anemia and blood conditions.
If your blood test results indicate that you have anemia, your doctor will prescribe treatment options. The most frequent form of treatment includes iron and vitamin C supplements. A vitamin-rich diet may also be suggested. Additional treatments may potentially include intravenous (IV) iron or red blood cell transfusions. Some cases may require surgery if the cause of anemia is internal bleeding.
Medical Arts Laboratory has been a leader in providing quality blood testing services across Central Florida for over 20 years. Our long list of accepted insurance providers—along with low private-pay prices—make us the most accessible blood testing network around. Contact us today to schedule your blood testing appointment.