The Iron Blood Test measures the iron levels in the blood. This helps in diagnosing iron deficiency (not enough iron) or iron overload (too much iron).
Iron is a very important mineral needed for your body to stay healthy. The body requires iron to prepare hemoglobin, the protein present in red blood cells which carries oxygen to various parts of the body. When the body lacks iron, hemoglobin may not be produced sufficiently. When there is no sufficient iron to meet the body’s needs, the iron stores are depleted. This condition is called iron-deficiency anemia. This occurs in individuals who do not take iron-rich foods or iron supplements. When your body is not able to absorb iron from the foods due to any diseased condition, it can also lead to iron deficiency. Iron is found in foods such as leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, grains, dried fruits, fish red meat, turkey, legumes etc.
When there are large amounts of iron present in your blood than needed by the body then the condition is called hemochromatosis (iron overload) which is a genetic disorder.
Generally, this test is not a routine test. Your doctor may ask to perform this test as a follow up to the Complete blood count, hematocrit or hemoglobin test in case of abnormal results.
This test is one amongst other tests that your doctor may recommend if he suspects any of these two reasons:
Symptoms of iron deficiency include: Muscle weakness, feeling tired and weak, pale skin, headaches, irritability, difficulty in concentrating, shortness of breath, swollen tongue, feeling cold, etc
Symptoms of iron overload include: Joint and stomach pain, tiredness and weakness, weight loss, darkening of the skin, loss of sex drive, etc.
If you have a family history of anemia, your doctor may ask you to perform this test on a 6-monthly basis or a yearly basis. Anemic patients should perform this test on a regular basis, as instructed by the doctor.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Iron. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Iron.
For this test, you may be instructed to fast for 12 hours without food and drinks prior to the test. Or this test can be done in the early morning without taking any food except water.
The normal test results may vary depending on gender, age, health history, etc. If the test result falls in the normal reference range generally no medical intervention is necessary.
If the test results show high iron levels in the blood it may indicate hemolytic anemia (a condition where the body does not have sufficient healthy red blood cells) or liver conditions; including hepatitis and liver necrosis (liver failure). Individuals who have taken iron supplements more than the recommended dose (iron poisoning) may also show high levels of iron in their blood. Sometimes when the body naturally retains too much iron (iron overload) it may raise the iron levels in the blood.
If the test results show low iron levels in the blood it may indicate anemia. This may occur in individuals who do not take iron-rich foods or iron supplements. Anemia may also occur if your body is not able to absorb iron from the foods due to any diseased condition or gastrointestinal blood loss. Pregnant women also show low levels of iron in their blood. Decreased iron levels in women can also be due to heavy menstrual periods.
If you have higher or lower than normal levels of iron in the blood, consult your doctor for further instructions. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests.
|MALE||All age groups||65 - 176 microgram/dl|
|FEMALE||All age groups||50 - 170 microgram/dl|