If you're experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, it's important to talk to your doctor or healthcare professional so that he or she can properly diagnose the symptoms and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment.
While there isn't a single, comprehensive test for iron deficiency anemia, your doctor can use a series of tests to diagnose IDA and make sure you don't have other types of anemia or health problems that could be confused with—or complicated by—IDA.1
Generally, your doctor will need to take a sample of your blood from your arm or hand and perform two common tests:2,3,4,5
These tests are generally enough to confirm a diagnosis; however, in certain cases, your doctor may also use other tests to identify the severity of your iron deficiency.1,2,6
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendations to prevent and control iron deficiency in the United States. MMWR Recomm Rep. 1998;47(RR-3):1-36. http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/00051880.htm. Accessed April 9, 2008.
2 Killip S, Bennett JM, Chambers MD. Iron deficiency anemia. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(5):671-678.
3 Trost LB, Bergfeld WF, Calogeras E. The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;54(5):824-844.
4 US National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health. Ferritin [definition]. MedlinePlus Web site. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003490.htm. Accessed April 28, 2008.
5 Skikne BS, Flowers CH, Cook JD. Serum transferrin receptor: a quantitative measure of tissue iron deficiency. Blood. 1990;75(9):1870-1876.
6 Cook JD. Clinical evaluation of iron deficiency. Semin Hematol. 1982;19(1):6-18.