Table of Contents
A Quick Overview of Anemia.
What causes anemia. Are there variations of the condition?
There are over 400 different kinds of Anemia. They have three different causes: Anemia caused by blood loss (more info), Anemia caused by faulty red blood cell production (more info) and a genetic condition called Sickle Cell Anemia (more info)
How do you become Anemic?
You’re either born anemic, predisposed to developing it later in life, or you get it abruptly due to circumstances like blood loss. If you are concerned that you might be anemic be sure to find out what type you have.
Is anemia deadly?
It depends on what type you have. If you’re iron deficient (common in women, often due to their periods) then just supplement iron and you should be fine. Sickle cell anemia, on the other hand, can be deadly.
Is anemia curable?
Most cases of anemia are not curable. Aplastic anemia is an example of a particularly dangerous kind of anemia which is difficult to treat. However, the condition is manageable through medication, self monitoring and blood transfusions.
What are the Blood Tests for Anemia
There are quite a few tests tests available to test for the potential of anemia. This is because there are so many different varieties of the disorder, all caused by different imbalances in the body.
Your doctor should be able to tell which tests would be best for you to take, but you might also want to do your own research. Some of the more common tests might not check for the correct markers for your situation, markers that a different test has been created to measure.
Here is a list of the blood tests that are available for anemia:
The Complete Blood Count (CBC) test
This is often the first test used to assess for anemia. The test checks your hemoglobin and hematocrit levels.
Hemoglobin is the iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the body. Hematocrit is a measure of how much space red blood cells take up in your blood. A low level of hemoglobin or hematocrit is a sign of anemia.
Th CBC test is inexpensive and can provide you with an some good information. It is very good about detecting Iron-deficiency anemia.
If you get a CBC test and are confirmed to have anemia you may need other tests, such as:
Reticulocyte Count Blood Test
This test shows whether your bone marrow is making red blood cells at the correct rate.
Ferritin + Iron + TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) Test
This is a thorough test for the level of iron in your blood and body. The TIBC component tests the ability of your body to bind to and utilize Iron in the blood.
The Anemia Panel
True Health Labs has an Anemia Panel test. This Panel Combines two of the previous tests I listed: CBC, Iron, TIBC & Ferritin (excluding Reticulocyte)
How Do You Get Tested?
If you have been discussing your potential for anemia with your doctor they will likely request that you run tests in their clinic.
Go that route if it works for you. If your clinic has the tests you want available and your insurance can cover a good portion of the testing then that might just be the ideal route.
I personally get my tests done through an independent vendor, which I just mentioned, called True Health Labs.
I choose True Health Labs for a few reasons:
- Inexpensive, online ordering. Most tests purchased will be 20%-80% less expensive than tests taken at conventional clinics.
- Your test results will be accurate and reliable. True health labs utilizes CLIA accredited labs, many of which are the same that your doctor uses for testing. All laboratories for testing are leading facilities in healthcare.
- Free consulting after each test. Included for every test you order is a consult with a doctor that includes a descriptive explanation of the test and your results. This is a pretty fantastic service to be offered for free.
For more information visit their FAQ page.
Here are links to find the individual tests that I mentioned on True Health Labs:
On treating the condition and improving your future test results.
You do not need a doctor’s referral to take these blood tests, but once you have the results it is best to bring them to your doctor and consult with them about it.
If you used True Health Labs you’re after-test consultation should give you the information you need, since you will be consulting with a doctor who is especially knowledgable about blood testing.
If you have anemia due to low iron levels then your doctor will likely recommend you to take an iron supplement. I recommend Megafood: Blood Builder as a safe and effective supplement to help boost your iron levels.
Also, look into celiac disease. The way gluten can hamper absorption in those sensitive to wheat can have very adverse effects on iron levels. My sister was taking supplements for anemia for many years until she found out she had celiac. Once she stopped consuming wheat her anemia went into remission and has since completely gone away. She now gets sufficient amounts of iron by eating grass fed beef liver 2 times a week.
Eventually I would like to compile a larger knowledge base for treating Anemia, but for now there are plenty of places you can look online. So for more information consult with your doctor or do your own research.