Anemia is diagnosed with a test called a complete blood count, or CBC. Specifically, doctors look at the hemoglobin or hematocrit results from the CBC to diagnose anemia and to follow the patient's response to treatment.
Your doctor will also measure the size of the red blood cells and examine them under a microscope to look for clues about the underlying cause of your anemia. With that information in hand, your doctor will order additional blood tests to determine the cause. In addition, your family and medical history can be very helpful in making the proper diagnosis.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.