Zinc - Blood test is used to measure the zinc levels in the blood. This test helps to know whether you have normal or abnormal zinc levels in the blood.
What is the importance of Zinc (Zn)?
Zinc (Zn) is a mineral which is naturally present in many food items such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, almonds, cashews, legumes etc that we eat. It is also found within the cells throughout the body. The body needs zinc for a healthy immune system and producing cells. It helps in wound healing and sense of taste and smell. Zinc is essential for the infants and children to grow and develop properly. It is also needed for sexual development and a deficiency of zinc may lead to a variety of physical ailments.
Deficiency of zinc affects the production of new and healthy cells. Signs and symptoms of low levels of zinc are lack of alertness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, reduced sense of smell and taste, slow wound healing, sudden weight loss, open sores on the skin etc. If you are pregnant, deficiency of zinc may affect the growth and development of the fetus.
High levels of zinc in the body may occur due to zinc toxicity. Excessive intake of zinc supplements can cause zinc toxicity. Symptoms of high levels of zinc are chest pain, drowsiness, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle pain, cough, fever, headache etc.
Why this test is performed?
This test is performed to know whether an individual is having normal or abnormal zinc levels in the blood. Your doctor may ask to perform this test if you experience any signs and symptoms of low levels of zinc such as lack of alertness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, reduced sense of smell and taste, hair loss, slow wound healing, sudden weight loss, open sores on the skin etc. This test is also recommended in individuals taking zinc supplements to ensure adequate concentrations are achieved. However, your doctor may ask to perform a few more additionals tests to know the root cause for the deficiency.
How often this test is performed?
Patients with zinc deficiencies should perform this test on a regular basis, as instructed by the doctor.
Medications such as steroids, antibiotics, iron, oral contraceptives may alter the levels of zinc in the body. So inform your doctor about all the medications you take prior to the test.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Zinc Test. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Zinc Test.
No specific preparation is required for this test. Sometimes you may ask to fast (not to eat or drink) for several hours because zinc levels can decrease after meals. However, follow all the instructions given by your healthcare provider.
If the test results fall in the normal reference range generally no medical intervention is necessary.
If the test result shows low levels of zinc than the normal range in the blood, it may indicate the presence of infections or zinc deficiency. Low levels of zinc can be due to poor nutrition (malnutrition) and lack of proper absorption of zinc due to Chrons disease or celiac disease (diseased conditions of intestine). Individuals with diseased conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, Wilson disease (a rare inherited condition due to excess storage of copper in the liver, brain, and other organs), diabetes, sickle cell anemia (a red blood cell disorder) or who had undergone a recent gastrointestinal surgery may also show a low zinc levels. Low zinc levels are also seen in pregnant women.
High levels of zinc are not very common. If the test result shows high levels of zinc than the normal range it may indicate zinc toxicity. Zinc toxicity can occur due to excessive intake of zinc supplements. Symptoms of zinc toxicity are chest pain, drowsiness, vomiting, nausea, fever, headache etc.
The zinc test results are compared with albumin test results to confirm the diagnosis. Low zinc levels and normal albumin levels may indicate zinc deficiency. Low zinc levels along with low albumin levels may indicate an acute phase response to infection.
If you have higher or lower levels of zinc 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.
|OTHER||All age groups||0.66 - 1.10 mcg/ml|