Anemia Blood Test: All You Need To Know!

What Is Anemia?

Anemia is a blood disorder characterized by a decrease in red blood cells (RBCs). Anemia gets caused by a lack of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. Anemia is the most common blood disorder in the western world, and it can cause either a wide range of symptoms or none. Fatigue, shortness of breath, and headaches are some of the most common symptoms.

There are various types of anemia, each with its own set of potential causes. Anemia typically gets caused by a failure to produce enough normal red blood cells, increased RBC destruction, or blood loss. Anemia testing is critical for diagnosing anemia and determining the underlying cause.

In this article, you will learn more about anemia, how the anemia test works. You will also get answers to the most commonly asked questions about anemia.

What Is An Anemia Blood Test?

If you go for a regular medical check-up or blood test, it is possible to detect and diagnose anemia. It can get discovered in people who have a mild case with fewer symptoms. Diagnostic anemia testing can determine whether red blood cells get depleted in people who have symptoms. An in-depth blood analysis can often aid in determining the type and cause of anemia.

Because anemia is a blood disorder, the majority of tests require a blood sample. However, doctors may need to rule out other potential causes, which may necessitate additional testing. Your doctor will most likely ask you about your medical and family history. They will perform a physical exam and run a complete blood count (CBC) test as well as a test to determine the size and shape of your red blood cells to diagnose anemia.

Anemia Blood Test: What Is It Used For?

Iron-deficiency anemia gets diagnosed using a variety of tests and procedures. They can help with confirming a diagnosis, searching for a cause, and determining the severity of the condition.

The complete blood count (CBC) is a critical component of anemia testing. This test counts the various types of cells in the blood. It is frequently used as part of a routine check-up and in the diagnosis of health problems, and it can detect anemia presence. The CBC measures the number of blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood.Your doctor may order other tests based on your CBC results, symptoms, and medical history.

What Is The Anemia Blood Test Procedure?

Additional tests can aid in determining the type and cause of anemia, but for the most part, patients do not require extensive testing. Your doctor is the best person to advise you on which tests are most appropriate for your situation.Here are the different tests your doctor may advise you to take:

1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test
This test determines the levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. On the other hand, hematocrit measures the space red blood cells occupy in your blood.

Generally, low hemoglobin or hematocrit levels characterize anemia. The CBC also determines the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in your blood. Atypical results could indicate an infection, a blood disorder, or another condition. Finally, the CBC examines the mean corpuscular volume (MCV). MCV is a metric that measures the average size of your red blood cells. The results could point to the source of your anemia. Red blood cells, for example, are typically smaller than usual in iron deficiency anemia.

2. Reticulocyte Count
The number of reticulocytes in your blood gets determined by this test. Reticulocytes are immature, young red blood cells. Reticulocytes mature into mature red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your body over time. A reticulocyte count determines whether your bone marrow is producing red blood cells at the appropriate rate.

3. Peripheral Smear
A sample of your blood gets examined under a microscope for this test. Your red blood cells will be smaller and paler than usual if you have iron-deficiency anemia.

4. Tests Measuring Iron Levels
These tests can determine how much iron gets depleted from your body’s iron reserves. Iron levels can be measured using the following tests:

Serum Iron.
This test determines the level of iron in your blood. Even if the total amount of iron in your body is low, the iron level in your blood may be usual. As a result, additional iron tests get performed.

Serum Ferritin.
Ferritin is a protein that aids in the storage of iron in the body. A measurement of this protein can assist your doctor in determining how much of your body’s stored iron gets used.

Transferrin Level or Total Iron-Binding Capacity.
A protein in your blood, transferrin, transports iron. Total iron-binding capacity quantifies how much of your blood is transferring isn’t carrying iron. If you have iron-deficiency anemia, you will have a high level of iron-free transferrin.

5. Other Tests
Your doctor may also advise you to have tests done to check your hormone levels, particularly your thyroid hormone. A blood test for erythrocyte protoporphyrin may also get performed. This chemical is a component of hemoglobin.

Preparation For An Anemia Blood Test

You will have to wear a short-sleeved shirt so your blood can get extracted easily for testing. You can usually eat and drink water before a CBC or any other anemia-related test ordered by your doctor. However, your doctor may require you to fast for a certain amount of time before the test. If the blood sample might get used for further testing, this is common. Your doctor will provide you with the necessary instructions before you come in for the test.

Before The Test
There is no need to prepare for a hemoglobin test. It usually only takes a few minutes. You can get the test done either in a doctor’s office, a medical laboratory, or other outpatient settings.

During The Test
Before drawing blood, the medical professional will swab the skin near the area with alcohol. They will wrap an elastic band around your upper arm and instruct you to make a fist to facilitate blood flow. As the needle gets inserted, you may feel some mild pain or discomfort. They will then draw your blood and collect it in a small vial or vials before being sent to the lab for analysis.

After The Test
For a few days, the area around the puncture may appear bruised or swollen. The risks of the anemia blood test are extremely low. In most cases, you will not find any noticeable side effects.

Anemia Blood Test Results Explained

If you have certain risk factors, such as pregnancy, your doctor may screen you for iron deficiency anemia. Your doctor may advise you to eat heart-healthy foods or control other conditions that can cause iron-deficiency anemia to prevent iron-deficiency anemia.

Your doctor may order a complete blood count (CBC) to see if you have lower than normal red blood cell counts, hemoglobin or hematocrit levels, or mean corpuscular volume (MCV) to screen for iron deficiency anemia.

Hemoglobin, g/dL Normal Men over 13
Women over 12
Iron-deficiency anemia Low
Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), fL Normal 80 – 95
Iron-deficiency anemia Less than 80 (Red Blood Cells are small)


Various tests assist your doctor in screening for iron deficiency anemia. A complete blood count assesses hemoglobin levels as well as mean corpuscular volume (MCV). Anemia gets defined if hemoglobin levels of less than 13 grams per deciliter (g/dl) for men and less than 12 g/dl for women. Red blood cells in iron-deficiency anemia are small, with an MCV of less than 80 femtoliters (fL).

Who Should Get An Anemia Blood Test?

After your blood test evaluation, it will get determined whether you have anemia or not. However, in some people, the symptoms begin to appear before the blood test. Therefore, if you are symptomatic and notice any of the following symptoms of anemia, you need to speak to your doctor or medical provider for the next course of action. It will then help your doctor figure out the correct treatment process for you. Anemia causes several signs and symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and a feeling of being cold.

Other symptoms include:

  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Headache
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sore tongue
  • Unintended movement in the lower leg (restless legs syndrome)
  • Pale skin, dry skin, or easily bruised skin

How Much Does The Anemia Blood Test Cost?

While you cannot predict the anemia blood test cost, it will depend on the number of tests ordered by your doctor. If you need to go for the basic blood tests related to anemia, the cost might be less. However, if the doctor arranges an extensive range of tests, proportionally, the price will increase.

Usually, the anemia blood test cost is reasonable and will give you the results you need without spending an excessive amount on the tests. But, only your doctor can determine the number of blood tests you need. So, consult your doctor if you see any of the symptoms of anemia and seek the correct treatment for your health issue.

How Often Should I Have An Anemia Blood Test?

It is critical to stick to your treatment plan after being diagnosed with anemia. To avoid complications, your doctor may recommend additional follow-up care and lifestyle changes. Accordingly, they will let you know when you need to get an anemia blood test next.

Do not stop taking your supplements and medications without first consulting your doctor. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following side effects: a rancid metallic taste, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or an upset stomach. Your doctor may be able to suggest alternatives such as taking your iron supplement with food, lowering the dose, or experimenting with a different type of medication.

Consult your doctor about returning to normal activities. Because anemia can make you feel weak, you should exercise caution when returning to certain activities, such as physical activity. When resuming activities, older adults, who are more prone to falling, should be especially cautious.

Anemia Blood Test: Related FAQs

When it comes to any health issue, most people have questions and concerns that need addressing. Below you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions related to an anemia blood test that might have crossed your mind as well.

Q1: Is fasting necessary for anemia blood test?
Usually, for any blood test, you need to fast overnight. Unless your healthcare provider or doctor tells you otherwise, you might have to fast. In the case of anemia, you might have to fast for at least eight hours before you get the test done. However, depending on your condition and symptoms, your doctor will suggest the correct course of action. Therefore, consult with your doctor before you go for the test.

Q2: What should I avoid before an anemia blood test?
Since you might have to fast before taking the blood test for anemia, you will have to avoid eating and drinking anything that isn’t water. Before you go for the test, you will mostly have to fast overnight, and hence, you can only intake water in the meantime.

Q3: How to test for anemia?
Your doctor or healthcare provider will recommend the correct test for your condition. However, to diagnose anemia, there are several tests that you can opt for and get the necessary results. Most commonly, the Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test gets prescribed unless you have any underlying issues for which the doctor may suggest extensive tests.

Q4: Can anemia blood test results be wrong?
Usually, the blood test gives accurate results. However, if the doctor does not prescribe extensive evaluation, it might yield half-baked results. But, it usually does not happen. Your doctor remains the best judge of which tests you need to undergo, and therefore if you happen to get an anemia blood test, your results will more often than not give the right results.


Anemia testing typically gets performed in a doctor’s office, laboratory, or hospital. Most anemia tests require a blood sample to get drawn from your arm with a needle or from a finger prick.

Anemia can get detected through routine blood work, or your doctor can order it after you exhibit symptoms consistent with anemia. If you are getting treatment for anemia, you might get subjected to follow-up testing to assess your response to treatment.Anyone experiencing anemia symptoms or having concerns about this condition should consult their doctor to determine which tests are necessary in their specific case.

Why Should You Reach Out To Aims Healthcare For Your Blood Tests?

In today’s world, going to the hospital to take any blood test can be dangerous. Aims Healthcare’s Lab at Home service in Dubai, on the other hand, allows you to take the test in the comfort of your own home, office, or even hotel.Our DHA-licensed nurses and expert lab technicians will arrive at your doorstep within 30 minutes to take your blood sample. Moreover, we make the best healthcare professionals accessible and just one call away. So, to receive personalized medical care exclusively at your doorstep 24×7 and 365 days, Get in touch at +971 458 26 555 or fill out the contact form for more information.

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