Iron and Total iron-binding capacity tests are a set of blood tests to estimate the amount of elemental iron, that is carried through the blood and stored in the body tissues. The iron test helps in measuring the amount of iron in the blood and the total iron binding capacity test shows how well iron is moving in the body. This helps in diagnosing iron deficiency or iron overload.
Importance of Iron:
Iron is a very important mineral needed by 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. This condition is called iron-deficiency anemia. When there are large amounts of iron present in your blood than needed by the body then the condition is called hemochromatosis which is a genetic disorder. Iron binds to a protein called transferrin which is produced by the liver. When the storage of iron in the body runs low, the liver produces more amount of transferrin in order to increase iron in the blood. Iron is also required by muscles, which contain oxygen-binding proteins called myoglobins.
Why this test is performed?
This test may be recommended to you for any of these two reasons:
Symptoms of iron deficiency include: Delayed mental development in children, failing to keep up in school, frequent infections, feeling tired and weak, pale skin, headaches, irritability, shortness of breath, swollen tongue, feeling cold, etc
Symptoms of iron overload include: Joint aches, stomach pain, tiredness and weakness, weight loss, loss of body hair, loss of sex drive, etc.
Some conditions may interfere with your test results like a recent blood transfusion or on iron replacement therapy. Some medicines like antacids (pantoprazole, ranitidine), NSAIDs (paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin), etc also lead to bleeding in the digestive tract, birth control pills chloramphenicol, fluorides, etc. Foods which are high in iron like meat, eggs, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, etc, cereals, wheat germ, raisins, whole grain bread, molasses, beans or drinking milk, blood donation or physical activity can also interfere with your results. Cereals, wheat germ, raisins, whole grain bread, molasses, beans or drinking milk, blood donation or physical activity can also interfere with your results.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Iron / TIBC. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Iron / TIBC.
For this test, you may be instructed to fast before the test or this test can be performed after 2-6 hours of eating.
The normal test results may vary depending on gender, age, health history, etc.
If your TIBC test results are higher than the normal range then it may indicate iron deficiency anemia and if the TIBC test results are low or normal it may indicate anemia with chronic diseases or iron overload.
If your iron levels are lower than the normal range it may indicate iron deficiency anemia. If your iron levels are higher than the normal range then it may indicate hemochromatosis (a genetic disorder with iron overload).
If you get abnormal test results, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may recommend other tests depending on your results.
|All age groups
|240 - 450 mcg/dl