Anemia Symptoms, Causes, Testing Techniques

Anemia Symptoms: Hereafter, we name hereditary hematologic disorders of Anemia, Anemia Symptoms, Causes, Testing Techniques.

Anemia Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath after mild exertion
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Pale skin, lips, and nail beds
  • Cold extremities
  • Frequent illnesses
  • Cessation of menstruation


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Fundamental causes of anemia

  • A poor diet, especially one that’s deficient in iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12. This category includes eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa
  • Blood loss (most often from menstruation, surgery, digestive diseases, or injury)
  • Chronic blood loss (commonly from bleeding ulcers, colon disorders, gum disease, or bleeding hemorrhoids)
  • Pregnancy
  • Inherited blood disorderliness.
  • An inability to absorb vitamin B12
  • Poor digestion and absorption—particularly due to low stomach acid, or celiac disease


See also: “Anemia Treatment Food


Testing Techniques

  • Blood testing—complete blood count (CBC), iron, ferritin (iron stores), B12,  folate
  • Occult blood stool test
  • Endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Celiac blood test (Anemia Symptoms)

Laboratory tests for diagnosis of anemia

Diagnosis of anemia includes the following laboratory analyses and tests:

  • A routine blood count. Blood sample taken from a vein in the arm is assessed for blood counts. Anemia is detected if the level of haemoglobin is lower than normal. There may be fewer red blood cells than normal. Under the microscope the RBCs may appear smaller and paler than usual in case of iron deficiency anemia. The small size is termed microcytic anemia. In vitamin B12 of folate deficiency the RBCs may appear pale but larger than their usual size. This is called macrocytic anemia.
  • Ferritin stores – Ferritin is a protein that stores iron. If the blood levels of ferritin are low it indicates low iron stores in the body and helps detect iron deficiency anemia.
  • Blood tests include mean cell volume (MCV) and red blood cell distribution width (RDW).
  • Reticulocyte count is a measure of young RBCs. This shows if the RBC production is at normal levels.
  • Vitamin B12 and folate levels in blood – these help detect if the anemia if due to deficiency of these vitamins.
  • Bone marrow analysis to detect too many immature RBCs as seen in aplastic anemia or blood cancers. Lack of iron in bone marrow also points towards iron deficiency anemia. Bone marrow is obtained by inserting a hollow needle into the breast bone or hip bone and withdrawing small amount of the marrow. The sample is then placed on a glass slide and stained with special dyes. This is examined under the microscope.
  • Iron binding capacity. Lower capacity of iron binding indicates iron deficiency anemia.
  • In women of African, Mediterranean or Southeast Asia ancestry, mild anemia that does not respond to iron therapy may be due to thalassemia minor or sickle cell trait. These can be detected by genetic tests and electrophoresis of blood. Hemoglobin electrophoresis identifies various abnormal hemoglobins in the blood. It is used to diagnose sickle cell anemia, the thalassemias, and other inherited forms of anemia.
  • Complete work ups including assessment of hidden foci for bleeding in the abdomen or intestines. Liver and kidney functions are evaluated to check if the anemia is due to chronic liver or kidney disease.


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