Have you been feeling fatigued recently? Or maybe you’ve been feeling feverish, confused, dizzy, or weak. Perhaps there are signs of a serious underlying condition, such as an increased heart rate or dark urine.
If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, you might be suffering from hemolytic anemia.
While this can be worrying, you can, fortunately, identify the problem and treat it accordingly with lab tests for hemolytic anemia.
In this article, we’ll review everything you need to know about hemolytic anemia and how getting a lab test can help you.
Finally, you can find out if you have hemolytic anemia and get the treatment you need to be healthy. Read on to learn more.
What Is Hemolytic Anemia?
Hemolytic anemia is a condition in which your red blood cells are being destroyed faster than they can be made. Your red blood cells have an essential mission, to carry oxygen from your lungs through your body and toward your heart.
Your bone marrow creates your red blood cells. However, when your red blood cells are destroyed at a faster rate than your bone marrow can produce, your total red blood cell count will go down, resulting in hemolytic anemia.
When this occurs, you are experiencing hemolytic anemia.
About Hemolytic Anemia
There are two types of hemolytic anemia. The first is extrinsic hemolytic. When this occurs, it develops in a variety of ways. It can be caused by autoimmune hemolytic anemia or by your spleen trapping and destroying healthy red blood cells. Other causes can include:
- Side effects of medication
- Autoimmune disorders
The other type of hemolytic anemia is intrinsic hemolytic. When this occurs, the blood cells your body produces aren’t functioning properly. These conditions are usually inherited. For example, thalassemia or sickle cell disease can cause you to have abnormal hemoglobin.
Risk Factors for Hemolytic Anemia
The risk of hemolytic anemia can be higher for people with atypical pneumonia and viral infections such as mononucleosis. Additionally, certain medicines can make it more likely for people to get it, as can certain cancers. These cancers include lymphoma and leukemia.
Anyone with a family history of hemolytic diseases or an autoimmune collagen-vascular disease, like systemic lupus erythematosus, is also at risk.
Causes of Hemolytic Anemia
Causes of hemolytic anemia include intravascular hemolysis, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, hereditary spherocytosis, and cold agglutinin disease. Any disease or condition that destroys red blood cells can cause hemolytic anemia, such as:
- Intravascular hemolysis
- Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
- Hereditary spherocytosis
- Cold agglutinin disease
Other causes also include:
- Infectious hepatitis
- An enlarged spleen
- Typhoid fever
- The Epstein-Barr virus
- The E. coli toxin
- HELP syndrome
- Wiskot Aldritch syndrome
Specific medications that can cause drug-induced hemolytic anemia include certain antibiotics, acetaminophen (more commonly known as Tylenol), and ibuprofen.
They also include chlorpromazine, procainamide, interferon-alpha, rifampin, and quinidine.
Additionally, if you got a blood transfusion and were given the wrong blood type, this can cause severe hemolytic anemia.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemolytic Anemia
Signs and symptoms of hemolytic anemia include:
- Paleness of the skin
- Inability to do physical activity
- A heart murmur
- An enlarged spleen
- An increased heart rate
Other signs and symptoms include an enlarged spleen and jaundice, where your skin and the whites of your eyes go yellow.
Lab Tests for Hemolytic Anemia
There are several hemolytic anemia tests available. In addition to the physical exam, there are lab tests that include blood tests such as a reticulocyte count test, a peripheral smear (also called the blood smear), and a Coombs’ test.
They also include liver function, hemoglobin, and bilirubin tests. Let’s review all of these in detail now.
Reticulocyte Count Test
When you take this hemolytic anemia lab test, the hemolysis labs practitioner will determine the percentage or number of reticulocytes in your blood. This will help them determine whether you have an issue with conditions like bone marrow disorders or anemia.
The peripheral smear, or blood smear, can be used to determine many blood-related issues, such as problems with platelets (white blood cells) and red blood cells. They’ll be able to confirm if your red blood cell count is low and whether you have sickle cell disease.
They’ll get a step closer to understanding if you have hemolytic anemia and what the underlying cause is.
The Coombs’ Test
A Direct Antiglobulin Test, (DAT) also known as Coombs’ test, can determine if antibodies act against your red blood cells’ surfaces. If these antibodies are present, this will confirm that you have hemolytic anemia.
Liver Function Test
This test measures the bilirubin, liver enzymes, and protein levels present in your blood. With these measurements, the lab practitioner will be able to find out whether the condition causing your symptoms is hemolytic anemia.
With this test, you’ll get an indirect reflection of the red blood cell amount you have circulating within your blood. Specifically, it measures the protein that carries oxygen within the red blood cells going through your body.
Finally, there’s the bilirubin test. This test will measure bilirubin levels in your blood. Bilirubin is the blood cell hemoglobin that has been broken down and processed by your liver. This will help determine if you have hemolytic anemia.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hemolytic Anemia and Lab Testing for Hemolytic Anemia
There are several frequently asked questions that you may be asking yourself about hemolytic anemia. We’ll review them now so that you can get all the questions answered before deciding whether or not you want to take a test.
What Type of Doctor Does Hemolytic Anemia Treatment?
Usually, your family physician or your child’s pediatrician will diagnose hemolytic anemia. If necessary, they’ll refer you to a hematologist. This is a doctor who specializes in conditions such as hemolytic anemia.
What Complications Can Hemolytic Anemia Lead To?
If left untreated, hemolytic anemia can lead to kidney failure, which is dangerous, or to gallstones, downright unpleasant. Another worrying complication it can lead to is heart failure. For this reason, it’s important to get a test for this condition.
Can I Learn More About Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn?
If the mother’s blood group or Rh-factors do not match with those of her newborn, this can cause hemolytic disease of the newborn. When this happens, the newborn can end up experiencing edema or newborn jaundice.
Treatment requires the baby with blood transfusions and providing the mother with the RhoGAM injection.
Benefits of Hemolytic Anemia Lab Testing With Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable so that you can make informed decisions about your health. Benefits include secure and confidential results, no insurance or referral needed, affordable price including the doctor’s order, and more.
Secure and Confidential Results
Your results are secure and confidential when you book a lab test for hemolytic anemia with Ulta Lab Tests. Results will be sent directly to you and no one else, so you can feel comfortable knowing you’re taking care of your health without having to worry about anyone else seeing your results.
No Insurance or Referral Needed
One of the reasons you may be hesitant to get a test is because you don’t have insurance. You might not be able to afford a doctor to give you a referral. We cut through all this red tape and make tests available to you.
Affordable Pricing Including the Doctor’s Order
We also make our pricing affordable to get the test you need without paying an exorbitant amount. This includes the Doctor’s Order, which saves you more money than you’d have to pay for the traditional route.
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Finally, we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This can give you the assurance you need when taking a test with us.
Want to Order Your Hemolytic Anemia Test?
Now that you’ve read about the benefits of testing for hemolytic anemia, results, and treatment options, you might be thinking of ordering a test. In this case, you should look no further than Ulta Lab Tests, as we have the most affordable, secure, and thorough testing available.
Order your Hemolytic Anemia lab test today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.
Take charge of your health and track your progress with Ulta Lab Tests.