Anemia is a common blood disorder in the United States that affects over 3 million Americans. With our help, you can diagnose anemia and gain valuable information on the underlying factors that affect your health.
What Is Anemia?
Anemia is a blood condition where a decreased number of red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Let’s review the most common types of anemia and their symptoms.
Types of Anemia
There are over 400 known types of this blood disorder, the four most known ones being iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia, aplastic anemia, and hemolytic anemia.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
When the level of iron in the body gets too low, the body develops iron deficiency anemia. There are various reasons a person may have low iron levels in their body, such as inadequate intake or malabsorption; however, the most common cause is blood loss. As soon as you lose blood, your body starts getting water from other tissues to keep blood vessels full. This process dilutes the blood and reduces the red blood cell (RBC) count.
Here are additional common causes of iron deficiency anemia:
- Gastrointestinal tract conditions such as cancer, gastritis, or ulcers
- A diet with an insufficient amount of iron
- The inability to use iron
In most cases, specialists will recommend iron supplements for this condition.
Vitamin Deficiency Anemia
Aside from iron, vitamin B12 is another crucial nutrient in producing healthy red blood cells. A diet without sufficient levels of this vitamin may lead to lower red blood cell production. Additionally, some individuals who consume enough vitamin B12 can’t absorb it, leading to vitamin deficiency anemia, also called pernicious anemia.
Aplastic anemia is a life-threatening condition wherein the body stops producing new red blood cells. Autoimmune disease, infections, and certain medicines may cause uncontrolled bleeding. Unfortunately, it can develop at any age.
This type of anemia occurs when the body destroys red blood cells much faster than it can produce them. Certain types of blood disease cause hemolysis — the destruction of red blood cells. Individuals can inherit hemolytic anemia or develop the condition later in life.
Symptoms of Anemia
Depending on the anemia type, individuals suffering from it may experience varying symptoms. However, here are the most common anemia symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- A sore tongue
As with most diseases, you won’t notice anemia immediately. However, as your condition worsens, your symptoms do too.
Lab Tests for Anemia
To diagnose anemia, your doctor will likely check the following:
- Medical history
- Current medications
- Alcohol intake
- Ethnic background
Additionally, your doctor might order various blood tests, including the following:
- Complete blood count (CBC): This test evaluates the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood. It can identify several blood conditions like anemia and leukemia.
- Ferritin test: This test type determines the iron levels in the body. If a blood test reveals low ferritin levels, it may be a sign of iron deficiency or anemia.
- Folate test: Folate is an essential B vitamin, and this test determines its levels in the blood. The body needs this nutrient for the development of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
- Reticulocyte count: This measures how fast the bone marrow produces and releases reticulocytes — a type of red blood cell.
- Bilirubin test: This test measures your blood’s bilirubin levels — a yellowish pigment created during red blood cell breakdown. This substance passes through the liver and later on exits the body.
- Iron total: This test measures whether an individual has too much or too little iron in the blood.
- Vitamin B12: The body needs vitamin B12 to create blood cells and keep the nervous system healthy, and this test determines how much of it people have in the blood.
These tests will help diagnose anemia and help identify its underlying causes. In some cases, doctors might request special blood or urine tests to determine other factors that might lead to anemia.
Lab Panels for Anemia
Ulta Lab Tests offers these individual tests, plus anemia lab panels that you can order directly to identify, monitor, and track your biomarkers.
- Basic Anemia Health: includes CBC, Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC), and Transferrin
- Basic Plus Anemia Health: includes all tests in the Basic Anemia Health plus Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CBP), Ferritin, and C-Reactive Protein (CRP).
- Advanced Anemia Health: includes all tests in the Basic Plus Anemia Health plus Folate, Reticulocyte Count, and Sickle Cell Screen
- Comprehensive Anemia Health: includes all tests in the Basic Plus Anemia Health plus Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), Fecal Globin by Immunochemistry (InSure®), Erythropoietin with Anemia Table, and Homocysteine
- Anemia 1 Baseline Blood Test Panel: includes Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) and Transferrin
- Anemia 2 Baseline Blood Test Panel: includes Anemia 1 Baseline Blood Test Panel plus CBC, CMP, Ferritin, Folate, and Vitamin B12, and Sickle Cell Screen Tests
- Anemia 3 Extreme Blood Test Panel: includes Anemia 2 Baseline Blood Test Panel plus C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Fecal Globin by Immunochemistry, and Homocysteine
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Ideal Hemoglobin Level?
The ideal hemoglobin level is 13.5 – 17.5 grams per deciliter for men and 12.0 – 15.5 grams per deciliter for women. For children, the recommended hemoglobin level depends on the individual’s age and gender.
What Are the Top Causes of Anemia?
The top causes of anemia include blood loss, lack of vitamins, and red blood cell destruction. However, anemia is usually a treatable disease if caught quickly.
How Does It Feel to Have Anemia Fatigue?
Anemia fatigue is nothing like feeling tired after a long day at work. When you’re anemic, you experience extreme fatigue that hinders you from performing your usual daily tasks. You may feel weary and short of breath even after moderate activities because your cells constantly need more oxygen.
How Serious Is Anemia?
In most cases, patients experience mild anemia levels. However, if left untreated, any anemia type can lead to more complicated health problems. Low oxygen levels can damage your heart and lungs.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Anemia?
With early detection and adequate treatment, most patients recover from anemia in three months or less. Anemia treatment might include oxygen, supplements, or intravenous fluids to address pain and other complications.
The 3 Major Benefits of Ordering an Ulta Lab Anemia Test
You’re probably already familiar with the benefits of anemia testing in general. It’s an excellent strategy for getting ahead of your condition and tracking it as it progresses. But there are also some benefits of relying specifically on Ulta Lab Tests for your professional anemia test.
The tests provided by Ulta Lab Tests through Quest Diagnostics are considerably cheaper than any alternative. We have significantly fewer overhead costs, work with the most advanced technology, and stick to tough industry standards. This allows us to offer the most competitive anemia test price in the industry.
Ease of Access
Order your lab test here through our website, and then visit an authorized patient service center to have your specimens collected. With 2100 labs across the country, there’s bound to be a location conveniently close to your work or home. Just visit the patient service center with your lab order, have your specimen collected and get your results in 1 to 2 days for most tests.
No Insurance or Referral Needed
One of the benefits of lowering our prices significantly is that you never need to worry about insurance approval. You can save even more money by paying for your testing with your FSA or HSA plan.
Don’t spend weeks or months waiting for a referral and then for testing results to return. You should be in control of your health and your future. Use Ulta Lab Tests to receive an affordable test result in only a few business days.
Take Control of Your Health
With Ulta Lab Tests on your side, you can rest well knowing you play an active role in understanding and managing your anemia. We empower all patients with a safe, secure, and private testing process.
Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.