Based on results from blood tests to screen for iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor may order the following blood tests to diagnose iron-deficiency anemia:
to see if you have lower than normal red blood cell counts, hemoglobin or hematocrit levels, or mean corpuscular volume (MCV) that would suggest anemia. Iron to measure the amount of iron in your blood. The level of iron in your blood may be normal even if the total amount of iron in your body is low. For this reason, other iron tests are also done. Ferritin measure to find out how much of your bodyвs stored iron has been used. Ferritin is a protein that helps store iron in your body. Reticulocyte count to see if you have lower than normal numbers of these very young red blood cells. Peripheral smear to see if your red blood cells look smaller and paler than normal when viewed under a microscope. Different tests help your doctor diagnose iron-deficiency anemia. In iron-deficiency anemia, blood levels of iron will be low, or less than 10 micromoles per liter (mmol/L) for both men and women. Normal levels are 10 to 30 mmol/L. Levels of ferritin will also be low, or less than 10 micrograms per liter (mg/L) for both men and women.
Normal levels are 40 to 300 for men and 20 to 200 for women. To help diagnose iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor will consider your CBC, hemoglobin, blood iron levels, MCV, and ferritin levels to determine if you have iron-deficiency anemia or another type of anemia. You may be diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia if you have low iron or ferritin levels in your blood. More testing may be needed to rule out other types of anemia. How much blood do you need? Getting a blood transfusion in the hospital can save your life. You may need a lot of blood if you are bleeding heavily because of an injury or illness. But anemia is usually not urgent. And usually you donБt need a lot of blood. You may only need one unit of blood while you are in the hospital. Or you may not need any blood at all. HereБs why: What is anemia? If you have anemia, your blood doesnБt have enough red blood cells, or they donБt work properly. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin.
This is an iron-rich protein that helps bring oxygen to the body. Anemia is measured in hemoglobin levels. There are a number of reasons you may become anemic while you are in the hospital, including: Extra blood units are not helpful. A normal hemoglobin level is 11 to 18 grams per deciliter (g/dL), depending on your age and gender. But 7 to 8 g/dL is a safe level. Your doctor should use just enough blood to get to this level. Often, one unit of blood is enough. Some doctors believe that hospital patients who fall below 10 g/dL should get a blood transfusion. But recent research found that: Many patients with levels between 7 and 10 g/dL may not need a blood transfusion. One unit of blood is usually as good as two, and it may even be safer. Some patients in intensive care may do better when they receive less blood. Using more blood units may increase risks. In the U. S. , the blood is generally very safe (see Advice column). The risks when you get blood are very small. They include: These problems can happen with any transfusion.
But the risks are higher if you get more blood. Blood transfusions can cost a lot. A unit of blood usually costs about $200 to $300. There are added costs for storage and processing, as well as hospital and equipment fees. Costs can be much higher if the transfusion causes an infecбtion or serious problem. Also, if you only use the blood you need, you are helping to keep a blood supply for other people. Do patients ever need more than one unit? Most patients do well with just one unit of blood, if the transfusion is not for an emergency. But some people may need more blood. Discuss this with your doctor. You have bleeding that is not well controlled, such as bleeding that continues during surgery. You have severe anemia and unstable chest pain. (БUnstableБ means that your symptoms keep changing. ) This report is for you to use when talking with your health-care provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk. б 2015 Consumer Reports. Developed in cooperation with the American Society of Hematology.