An important test for anaemia this test measures the level of iron in the blood
Iron is an essential trace element and is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and certain enzymes.
This iron test checks the amount of iron in the blood to see how well iron is metabolized in the body.
Iron tests are used to check for iron deficiency anaemia, check for a condition called haemochromatosis, check nutritional status or to check to see if iron and nutritional treatment is working.
Iron (Fe) is a mineral needed for haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.
Iron is also needed for energy, good muscle and organ function.
Roughly 70% of the body’s iron is bound to haemoglobin. The rest is bound to other proteins or stored in other body tissues. When red blood cells die, their iron is released and carried by transferrin to the bone marrow and to other organs such as the liver and spleen. In the bone marrow, iron is stored and used as needed to make new red blood cells.
Total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is a measure of the amount of iron that can be carried through the blood.
A raised TIBC result usually indicates iron deficiency whereas low TIBC can occur with iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis).
Transferrin is made in the liver and is the major protein in the blood which binds to iron and transports it through the body.
Low levels of transferrin indicate iron deficiency while high levels indicate iron overload.
Recent consumption of iron-rich foods, or of iron pills or tablets, can affect test results, as can recent blood transfusions. Alcohol and drugs, such as oral contraceptives, can increase iron levels, whereas testosterone, large doses of aspirin, metformin, and ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) can decrease them.
Who is this test for?
This test is for anyone wanting to measure their iron levels.
It is also for employers required to carry out biological monitoring for workers potentially exposed to excess iron.