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Learn about how iron deficiency or iron deficiency anaemia is diagnosed

Getting diagnosed with iron deficiency (ID) or iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) starts with talking to your doctor.


Make an appointment with your doctor

If you have symptoms of ID/IDA, you should make an appointment with your doctor to talk about them. They will ask some questions about your symptoms, lifestyle and medical history. These may include:1,2


  • What symptoms you have
  • How long you have had your symptoms
  • If your symptoms started after any changes in lifestyle
  • What your diet is like
  • If you have had ID, IDA or other types of anaemia before
  • If you have any medical conditions
  • If you are taking any medicines or supplements
  • If you might be pregnant


This can be a lot to remember, so it might be useful to make some notes to take with you to help answer these questions.


Go for a blood test

If your doctor thinks you might have ID/IDA, they will arrange a blood test.1 During the blood test a nurse will take a small sample of blood. This sample will then be sent off for a range of tests to see if you have ID/IDA.

Get your results back

Your doctor may contact you when they get the blood test results back. If the results are normal, your doctor may give you advice on symptoms to look out for and lifestyle changes to help you feel better. They might also arrange more tests to find out what is causing your symptoms.


If the results show you have ID/IDA, you may be asked to make another appointment for your doctor to discuss what the results mean and how you will be treated.


Start treatment for ID/IDA

If you have ID/IDA, your doctor will decide the best way to treat it. You might need to change your diet, take a supplement or medicine containing iron, or do both.1,3


Your doctor may also send you for more tests to understand what condition is causing your symptoms. This is so symptoms can be managed and to help prevent them from coming back.



  1. NHS. Iron deficiency anaemia. Available at: Accessed December 2021.
  2. Mayo Clinic. Iron deficiency anemia. Available at: Accessed December 2021.
  3. American Society of Hematology. Iron deficiency anemia. Available at: Accessed December 2021.