Serum Iron Test

Serum iron (Fe) test measures the iron level in the blood. Iron is necessary for hemoglobin protein  for oxygen carriage. Also iron is found in composition of enzymes as a catalyst for so many essential reaction for the body. Iron is bound to transferrin protein in blood and also it is bound to ferritin in bone marrow, spleen and the liver. Our iron source is iron containing foods like; meat, liver, eggs, chickpeas, broccoli, kale, dried beans, etc.  Especially in growth period and pregnancy people need more iron. Poor iron diet or bleedings may cause iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency that cause anemia. Iron test is done for diagnosis and treatment of anemia that are caused by iron deficiency.

How the iron test is done?

Iron test is done in a tube of blood sample. You will need a blood collection procedure. Your health provider (doctor, nurse, technician) will insert a needle usually in a vein inside of your elbow or on the back of your hand. One or more  tubes of blood will be drawn according to the number of your blood tests. You may feel a little pain for a few seconds during the process.

Preparation for serum iron test

Iron test must be done after fasting for 8-12 hours. Iron containing supplements should not be used 12 hours before the test. Please consult your doctor when you should stop using your medicines before the iron test. Birth control pills also may affect iron test result so consult your doctor if you use or stop before the test. Serum iron test must be done in mornings because iron level is highest in the mornings.

Factors that may affect serum iron test result

Some factors and medicines may affect your iron test result please inform your doctor about the medicines and supplements you use;

  • Birth control pillsblood iron
  • Aspirin
  • Estrogen
  • Testosterone
  • Gout treatment medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • Cholesterol medicines
  • Deferoxamine
  • Alcohol
  • Vitamin B12 drugs
  • Recent blood transfusion
  • Stress

Anemia symptoms

So many people feels tired; fatigue is the commonly seen symptom of anemia. Especially women feel themselves so tired even after a little working. You can see that their faces look pale. Symptoms will be heavier if the level of anemia is progressed. You can see some other symptoms of anemia below

  • Easy fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Leg cramps
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Tongue swelling
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Coldness; cold hands and feet
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irregular heart beats

Serum iron test normal values

Men: 65-175 mcg/dL

Women: 50-150 mcg/dL

Children: 50-120 mcg/dL

High iron causes

  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Iron poisoning
  • Hepatitis
  • Blood transfusion
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Liver failure, hepatic necrosis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Vitamin B 12 deficiency
  • Vitamin B 6 deficiency
  • Iron overload, using too much iron supplements

Low iron causes

  • Anemia
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic diseases
  • Iron deficiency
  • Poor diet
  • Intestinal absorption problems


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