Anaemia Test

What is anaemia?

Anaemia is a disease that occurs when the number of red blood cells (RBCs) and/or the amount of haemoglobin found in the red blood cells falls below normal. This means you lack sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. This makes you feel tired and weak.

RBCs and the haemoglobin contained within them are necessary for moving oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without an adequate supply of oxygen, many parts of the body will not work properly.

Anaemia can be mild, moderate or severe depending on how much the RBC count and/or haemoglobin levels have fallen. It is a fairly common condition and affects both men and women of all ages and ethnic groups.

Certain people are at an increased risk of developing anaemia. These include people with diets poor in iron and some vitamins, long lasting illnesses such as kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, a family history of inherited anaemia, longstanding infections such as tuberculosis or HIV and those who have had significant blood loss from injury or surgery.

In general, anaemia has two main causes:

  1. Impaired or decreased production of RBCs. This can occur in iron deficiency, B vitamin deficiencies or a number of diseases affecting the bone marrow’s ability to make red blood cells.
  2. Decreased survival or increased destruction of RBCs. This can occur in bleeding or haemolysis. There are several different types of anaemia and various causes. Some of the most common types are given in the table below. Click on the links to read more about each one. Some patients may have more than one cause of anaemia.

Different types of anaemia

There are several types of anaemia including:

  1. Iron deficiency anaemia. Lack of iron leads to decreased amounts haemoglobin; low levels of haemoglobin in turn leads to decreased production of normal RBCs
  2. Pernicious anaemia and B vitamin deficiency. Lack of B vitamins (particularly B12) does not allow RBCs to grow and then divide as they normally would during development; leads to decreased production of normal RBCs
  3. Aplastic anaemia. Decreased production of all cells produced by the bone marrow of which RBCs are one type.
  4. Haemolytic anaemia – This is where RBCs survive less than the normal 120 days in the circulation, leading to a decrease in RBC level.
  5. Anaemia of chronic diseases. Various illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or cancer over time can reduce the production of RBCs
  6. Sickle cell anaemia. This is one of a group of disorders known as sickle cell disease. Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited red blood cell disorder in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body.
  7. Thalassemia. This is an inherited blood disorder that causes your body to have less haemoglobin than normal.

Signs and symptoms of an anaemia

Though different types of anaemia have different causes, the signs and symptoms can be very similar. Mild or moderate forms of anaemia may cause few if any symptoms. The most common symptoms are:

  • a general feeling of tiredness, lack of energy or weakness (fatigue)
  • breathlessness
  • pale complexion
  • dizziness
  • feeling of cold or numbness in hands and/or feet
  • pale complexion
  • fast or irregular heartbeat and chest pain
  • some patients complain of hearing a pounding sound (their pulse) in their ears

What tests are included in the anaemia test?

The anaemia test comprises several tests.

1. Full Blood Count (also known as a Complete Blood Count). This is a comprehensive blood test that screens components of your blood including:

  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Platelets

We talk about the Full Blood Count in detail, here.

2. Red cell folate (B9) and Vitamin B12. Folate works closely with vitamin B12 to help make red blood cells and help iron work properly in the body.

3. Ferritin. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron. Ferritin is stored in the body’s cells until it’s time to make more red blood cells. The body will signal the cells to release ferritin. The ferritin then binds to another substance called transferrin to transport it to where new red blood cells are made. If a person doesn’t have enough ferritin, iron stores can deplete quickly.

4. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR). ESR actually measures the rate of fall (sedimentation) of erythrocytes (red blood cells) in a tall, thin tube of blood. Results are reported as how many millimetres of clear plasma are present at the top of the column after one hour.

 Anaemia increase the ESR fall rate by changing the consistency of RBCs.

5. Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC). Total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is a blood test to see if you have too much or too little iron in your blood. Iron moves through the blood attached to a protein called transferrin. This test helps measures how well transferrin can carry iron in your blood.

Your body relies on iron in red blood cells to carry oxygen to all its cells. Without enough iron, your red blood cells will be unable to supply enough oxygen. However, too much iron isn’t good for your body either (it can lead to organ damage). Both high and low iron levels may indicate a serious underlying problem.

Order an Anaemia Test Kit

Order an Anaemia Test Kit. Our Anaemia home blood test kit checks your blood’s ability to transport oxygen and measures your iron levels and essential B vitamins. If you have anaemia you lack sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. This makes you feel tired and weak.

Get the convenience of home testing with the reassurance of professional clinical analysis. Your results are delivered quickly and securely online.

This Anaemia Test is advised if you:

  • are female and still menstruating
  • have skin paler than normal
  • suffer from chronic fatigue & tiredness
  • wish to assess whether you are suffering from anaemia
  • want the convenience of home testing without waiting for a GP appointment
  • need a high quality, clinically accredited test done in a professional clinical laboratory

What is tested?

  1. Full blood count
  2. Red cell folate (B9)
  3. Vitamin B12
  4. Ferritin
  5. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
  6. Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC)

Anaemia treatment

Generally, anaemia is easy to treat through supplementation and/or diet changes. However, anaemia treatment can depend on the cause. Speak with your doctor to discuss your treatment options. Other treatments may include:

  1. Iron supplementation
  2. Change of diet
  3. Vitamin supplementation
  4. Blood transfusion
  5. Synthetic hormone
  6. Changing medication
  7. Intravenous fluids
  8. Antibiotics

Comments are closed.

SYMPTOMS: a general feeling of tiredness, lack of energy or weakness, breathlessness, pale complexion, dizziness, feeling of cold or numbness in hands and/or feet, pale complexion, fast or irregular heartbeat and chest pain, hearing a pounding sound (your pulse) in your ears

May 6, 2020