Iron Overload Test: What Is It And Why Do You Need One?

Iron is a mineral that can be obtained from meals, such as red meat and cereals, as well as from supplements. Producing red blood cells necessitates iron. Haemoglobin, an enzyme in your blood that aids in transporting oxygen through your lungs to the entire body, has iron. However, you may be at risk of developing an ‘iron overload’.¬† An iron overload test can determine whether your body has excessive or low amounts of this mineral. It can detect iron overload or anaemia, among other problems. If you exhibit signs of either condition, such as dizziness, tiredness, headaches, fast heartbeat, weakness, lack of energy, and pale skin, your physician may suggest a test.  

What Are the Different Kinds of Iron Tests?

The amount of iron in your body can be determined using a variety of tests. These tests determine how much is circulating in your system, how it is carried by your blood, and how much is retained in your tissues.
  • Serum ferritin
  • Transferrin saturation
  • Unsaturated iron-binding capacity
  • Serum iron
  • TIBC or Capacity to bind iron in total¬†
  • Transferrin saturation
Moreover, several of these tests, if not all, are frequently ordered simultaneously.  

What Are Their Functions?

The iron overload test determines whether your levels are too inadequate, which is a sign of anaemia. It’s also used to see if your levels are abnormally high, which could signify hemochromatosis. Finally, to check the problems, you have to determine the suitable iron treatments.

What Happens During the Test?

A tiny needle will be used to obtain a sample of blood from a vein in your forearm health care provider. A small quantity will be gathered into a tube or vial once the needle is placed. It normally takes less than four minutes to complete this process.  

What Preparations Are Needed?

Before your test, your doctor may ask you to fast (not consume any food or drink) for 12 hours. The test is usually performed first thing in the morning. Speak to a doctor if you have any questions about getting ready for your test.  

Are There Any Risks?

Having a blood test carries relatively little risk. You may experience minor pain or bruising where the needle was inserted, but most symptoms fade rapidly.

What Do the Findings Imply?

If one or more tests reveal that your levels are abnormally low, it could indicate that you have:
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Another kind of anaemia
  • Thalassemia
If one or more tests reveal that your levels are abnormally high, it could indicate that you have:
  • Lead poisoning
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Liver disease
Supplements, diet, medication, and other therapies can successfully cure most illnesses that cause a problem. If your results are abnormal, it does not always mean you have a medical problem that requires treatment. Birth control medications and oestrogen therapies, for example, can affect levels. Aside from that, women’s levels may be reduced throughout their menstrual periods. So, speak with your doctor if you have any questions regarding your results.  

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