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which measure the amount of iron in your blood, to help determine the type and
severity of anemia.
Reticulocyte count, to help determine the cause of anemia. Reticulocytes are immature
red blood cells produced by bone marrow and released into the bloodstream.
Levels of reticulocytes are lower in iron deficiency anemia.
ferritin level test, which reflects how much iron may
be stored in the body. Abnormally low
ferritin levels may point to iron deficiency anemia.
This is one of the first tests to be abnormal when you have iron
If your doctor suspects that
bleeding in your stomach or intestines is causing your anemia, you
will have tests to determine the cause of the bleeding. These may
colonoscopy. This test inspects the entire large
intestine (colon) using a long, flexible, lighted viewing scope to look for
polyps or other sources of bleeding.
An upper gastrointestinal (GI)
endoscopy. This test, which uses a thin, flexible,
lighted viewing instrument, can help identify stomach ulcers or other causes of
irritation or bleeding.
Video capsule endoscopy. For this test,
you swallow a capsule that contains a tiny camera. As the capsule travels
through your system, the camera takes pictures of your small intestine that can
show where bleeding is occurring.
If blood tests don't find the problem, you may need a test
called a bone marrow aspiration. Bone marrow aspiration removes a small amount
of bone marrow fluid through a needle inserted into the bone. Because iron is
stored in the bone marrow, this test can provide a good idea of how much iron
is in the body. But bone marrow aspirations are not done very often.