Vitamin B12 Deficiency Diagnosis
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
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- Resource Guide
How to Diagnose Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include the following:
- Complete blood count (CBC)-a count of the number of red and white blood cells in a blood sample
- Vitamin B12 level-a test that measures the amount of vitamin B12 in the blood
- Methylmalonic acid (MMA) level-a measurement of the amount of methylmalonic acid in the blood; this test determines whether a vitamin B12 deficiency exists.
- Homocysteine level-a test that measures the amount of homocysteine in the blood (homocysteine is a building block of protein). The homocysteine level will be elevated if there is a shortage of vitamin B12, folate, or vitamin B-6.
- Schilling test-a test in which a harmless amount of radiation is used to assess whether a vitamin B12 deficiency exists (rarely used)
- Red blood cell folate level-a measurement of the amount of a B vitamin called folate
- Gastrin level-a test that may help determine the cause of a vitamin B12 deficiency
- Intrinsic factor assay-a measurement of the amount of a protein called intrinsic factor normally produced in the stomach; this test helps to rule out pernicious anemia as the cause of symptoms.
- Bone marrow staining-a test that shows whether an iron deficiency exists
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2013 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO