Everything you should know about Iron Status Tests

Everything you should know about Iron Status Tests

Iron Status Profile Test is used to measure different substances in your blood str to check iron levels in your body. Iron is an essential mineral responsible for making red blood cells which in turn carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. 

Iron is very important for healthy muscles, bone marrow, and organ function. If your Iron levels are too low or too high, it can cause serious health problems.

There are different forms of iron tests your medical expert can suggest you carry out. These types of iron tests include:

  1. The Serum iron test

This test would measure the amount of iron in the blood

  1. The Transferrin test

 This test would measure transferrin. Transferrin is a protein that moves iron throughout the body

  1. The Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) Test

This test would measure how well iron attaches to transferrin and other proteins in your blood

  1. Ferritin blood test

This test would measure how much iron is stored in the body

Often, some or all of these tests are recommended at the same time.

When your iron levels are too low, some symptoms that may indicate this includes pale skin, weakness, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and rapid heartbeat.

On the other hand, when your iron levels are too high, you may experience joint pain, abdominal pain, constant lack of energy and weight loss.

Your specialist would recommend that you get an Iron Status Profile to check:

  • If your iron levels are too low. If they are, it is a sign of anemia.
  • If you have any of the different types of anemia
  •  If your iron levels are too high.  Having high iron levels could be a sign of a rare genetic disorder that results in too much iron building up in the body. This is called hemochromatosis. 
  • If treatments that were recommended for the treatment of iron deficiency (low iron levels) or excess iron (high iron levels) are working

Your healthcare specialist will use a small needle to take a blood sample from a vein in your arm. You may feel a little pain when the needle goes in or out however this would only last less than five minutes. 

A small amount of blood would be collected into a test tube or vial for testing.  

You may be required to fast (not eat or drink) 12 hours before your test.

To test for deficiency, your doctor may check also check the health of your skin, nails, and hair. They may also check for other symptoms like irregular heartbeats or uneven breathing patterns and ask medical questions to help guide their diagnosis. After this, your specialist may order tests to check for:

  • Reasons for internal bleeding if there are any
  • Any underlying genetic disorders and hereditary illnesses 
  • Abnormal gynecologic characteristics in females
  • Blood in the stool or urine
  • The levels of important B vitamins
  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Abnormal characteristics in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Other types of chronic conditions

Most illnesses that result in too little or too much iron can be successfully treated using iron supplements, diet, medicines, and/or other therapies.

Most Iron issues are not because you are sick. Some medications like birth control pills and estrogen treatments can influence iron levels. Women can also have lower Iron levels during their menstrual cycles.

So if your iron test results are not normal, it does not necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment.

Treating iron deficiency anemia will depend on the underlying cause, as well as the severity of the symptoms.

Your health care specialist may recommend treating mild deficiencies with changes in your diet to include more high-iron foods or recommend iron supplementation to help bring levels higher. In serious cases, they may recommend intravenous iron or blood transfusions using iron-rich blood.