PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Anemia is the most common blood disorder and causes symptoms of weakness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, and decreased appetite.
Now, there’s a breakthrough, non-invasive way to test for it and it requires no needles.
Anemia is a condition where your body does not have enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells and it affects 1 in 10 women, typically because of iron deficiency.
“I was just really tired all the time,” Jamie Szramowski said.
Szramowski would get regular blood draws to check a measure of the red blood cells called hemoglobin.
“It’s pretty annoying to be running back and forth to have your blood work drawn. It’s much more convenient to have it just done in the office,” Szramowski said.
Doctors can monitor the condition with blood work, but now, a new device, about the size of a smart phone, can check your blood, all without a needle stick.
Basically, you put it on the ring finger of the non-dominant hand, press a button and the machine will measure your hemoglobin just by sensing the red blood cells flowing under the fingernail.
In testing, the readings were compared to actual blood work done at the same time and the numbers were comparable.
The device came out in January. It has what’s called FDA 510 clearance, which means it has been presented to the government agency as a safe and effective device.
Insurance is covering this simple measurement and it’s done in the doctor’s office.
Local gynecologist Dr. Karen Rehder has been checking about two patients a day, usually young menstruating women worried about how much blood they’re losing each month, and older women with medical conditions or treatments that might predispose them to anemia.
“Most of them like it. The only people who don’t like it are the ladies that come in with dark red fingernail polish, because it won’t work on them, and they’re so disappointed we can’t do it for them at the time,” Dr. Rehder said.
Szramowski is better now, but wishes this testing had been an option for her.
“It was painless, it was simple, and it didn’t even take long,” Szramowski said.