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Iron - 000186

Iron is a mineral that we consume in our diet, and even though it is required only in small quantities, it forms a vital component of the hemoglobin found in the red blood cells. The serum iron test helps us measure the amount of iron that is present in our blood, because the lack of iron or too much iron can lead to various health issues.

The serum iron test is done to determine the amount of iron that is present in our blood. This is simple test, which can be conveniently carried out and the results of the test will help your doctor get a better understanding of the problem you might be having.

If your doctor suspects that you might be suffering from a condition which is caused by too little iron in your system or too much of iron in your system, then you will most likely be ordered to undergo this test. Conditions where you may have too little iron include anemia, or if you have conditions like hemochromatosis or thalassemia, then you might be having an iron overload.

Certain medication and ingestion of iron containing food can alter the level of iron in the blood. Therefore your healthcare provider may ask you to undergo this test first thing in the morning or after fasting (that is not eat or drink anything, except water) for a period of 8-10 hours. You might also be asked to avoid certain medication on the day you are being tested. Talk to your healthcare provider regarding this.

During this, a Medical Lab Technician will draw out a small volume of blood, using a needle and syringe which is inserted into a vein in your arm. This blood sample is then sent to the lab for analysis.

Since this test is a simple drawing of blood, you will not feel a lot of discomfort. You might experience a mild pain on inserting the needle, but you will not experience any uneasiness afterwards.

There is very little risk in undergoing a serum iron test, because it is a simple blood drawing. Very rarely you might continue to have a mild pain or some swelling at the site where the needle was inserted, but these symptoms will resolve on their own within a couple of days.

The normal range of iron in your blood should be between 60 to 170 mcg/dL, or 10.74 to 30.43 micromol/L. If your results are showing values less than this, then you might be suffering from anemia. If your results are showing values more than this, then you might be suffering from iron overload due to conditions like thalassemia or hemochromatosis.

As mentioned above certain food and medication can have an effect on the level of iron in the blood, therefore these should be avoided prior to testing. Any episodes of heavy bleeding before the test, such as due to heavy menstruation can also affect the reading. Always discuss these issues with your healthcare provider.