ZocdocAnswersAm I anemic or borderline?

Question

Am I anemic or borderline?

A few months ago I was told by a doctor that I am borderline and it would be fixed easily with iron supplements. However, after improving my diet and adding multivitamin supplements I still have minor symptoms. Is it possible that I am anemic, not borderline?

Answer

This is a question you should discuss with your doctor. Anemia refers to a low red blood cell count. Red blood cells are the cells responsible for picking up oxygen in the lungs and transporting this oxygen to the body's tissues. The substance within the blood cells responsible for carrying the oxygen contains iron, and as such, a low iron level is a very common cause of anemia. However, there are many different causes of anemia, including chronic disease, low vitamin B12 and low folic acid levels, to name a few. Many patients encountered in the primary care setting are diagnosed with either frank anemia or a borderline red cell count. To help determine the cause of your anemia, your doctor can look at characteristics of your red cells, including their shape, size and variability on a blood smear. Iron levels themselves can also be measured to confirm the diagnosis. Depending on the degree of your anemia, if it is caused by iron deficiency, the treatment may include supplementation with iron pills multiple times per day, and may take months to see a significant improvement. Please talk to your doctor about your symptoms soon.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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