Testing Testing Do You Have Anemia

Before you self-diagnose your fatigue as anemia and then pop a pill, consult your doctor about your symptoms. And ask for a blood test.

A hemoglobin test or a hematocrit test is a simple, inexpensive blood test to screen for the possibility of anemia; however, many conditions can affect the results. If the test results are positive, your doctor may conduct more specific tests, for example: for iron-deficiency anemia—serum ferritin or total iron-binding capacity (TIBC); for folate deficiency anemia—

serum folate; or for vitamin B12 deficiency—serum vitamin B/2 or a Schilling test.

Proper diagnosis is essential for getting the right treatment for various types of anemia; their potentially harmful effects differ. For example, a folate supplement may "cure" blood-related symptoms of pernicious anemia but mask irreversible, potentially severe damage to the nervous system.

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