When the amount of iron serum in the body changes abnormally, whether higher or lower than the normal level in the blood is also a warning sign of health problems. How to detect this situation? It is based on a serum iron test. Through this test, it will help the doctor accurately diagnose the current state of the patient's body, contributing to an effective and timely treatment regimen.
Significance Of Serum Iron
To understand why serum iron is recommended, we need to find out what is the importance of serum iron to the body.
Iron is one of the minerals that are essential for the body but can only be supplemented through a single route, which is dietary sugar.
If during the normal eating process, the amount of iron entering the body is absorbed only in very low amount, about less than 10% of the iron is absorbed.
Iron enters our bodies in the form of hydroxide or salt of Fe3 +. After that, iron compounds will begin to dissociate into free ions or can also combine with organic matter. Finally, Fe3 + is removed from food and converted to Fe2 +, which is more easily absorbed.
When absorbed into the blood vessels, Fe2 + ions will be oxidized and then converted to Fe3 + to bind to specific transferrin proteins in the form of transport, and with the participation of ceruloplasmin catalytic activity. Most of this transferrin will be transported to the bone marrow and will begin the process of hemoglobin production.
Besides, another part of iron will be stored in the form of ferritin and hemosiderin in the liver, intestine, bone marrow.
In terms of role, iron is an indispensable mineral involved in respiration, contributing to myoglobin, hemoglobin that transports O2 to cells throughout the body.
Besides, iron ions are also an indispensable component of enzymes catalase, intracellular flavoprotein, peroxidase or cytochrome, Fe-S transport proteins …
Depending on the age, gender, the development of the body … that iron needs in each person will be different. For women, with processes such as menstruation, pregnancy, and lactation, iron requirements will also be higher than normal.
If the body does not provide enough iron for the body, causing the level of iron in the blood to decrease, the body will need to use the iron reserves and deplete reserves, causing anemia. , Iron deficiency.
Conversely, consuming too much iron in excess is not necessarily good either. This will harm the organs in the body such as the liver, pancreas, heart … If excessive iron accumulates, it will increase the risk of functional impairment and organs causing multi-organ failure. danger.
What Are Serum Iron Tests?
What does serum iron test check for? A serum iron test is a test performed with the aim of measuring the iron content of a patient's serum. Specifically, the amount of iron here includes free iron, ferritin storage form, and finally the combined transport form with transferrin in the blood and is transported throughout the body.
Since the amount of iron present in the blood is not fixed but constantly changes on the same day or can change from day to day, the iron serum test is normally measured with several iron tests. other such as optimal iron-binding test (TIBC).
Through the results of saturation, Transferrin will reflect the level of iron in the blood is at any level.
Serum iron and ferritin testing are some of the necessary tests for patients who are showing signs of excess or lack of iron so that the doctor can accurately diagnose the condition and suggest the most effective treatment regimen.
When Should You Get Tested For Serum Iron?
Serum iron tests are usually prescribed by a doctor in the following cases:
When the patient performing the general check test results in total blood analysis, the hemoglobin is abnormal.
If you suspect that you have anemia or iron deficiency when you have the following unusual symptoms, your doctor will usually order a Ferritin test to check:
- Pale skin.
- The tongue is paler than usual, smooth due to missing or worn tongue.
- Pale mucous membranes, hair, hair, and nails feel dry and brittle.
- Dizziness is prone to dizziness, especially when suddenly changing position.
- Chest tightness.
- Decreased physical and mental performance …
Cautions Before Conducting A Serum Iron Test
What are things you need to know before starting a serum iron test? For this test, be sure to fast for about 12 hours before the test. However, it is still possible to drink a sufficient amount of filtered water.
The ideal time to have this test is in the morning, before 10 o'clock as this is the time when blood serum concentrations are at their highest.
To perform the test, a blood sample will be taken from a vein usually on the arm or back of the patient's hand. The process of taking blood is relatively simple, the patient does not need to worry too much, so follow the instructions of the medical professional to take the blood sample smoothly.
Another issue to note is that the actual iron content in the body at the time of the test is at risk of being temporarily increased or decreased by some of the effects of medications, typically oral contraceptives. This is the reason why serum iron levels are significantly deviated, affecting the test results.
Therefore, if you are using drugs for treatment, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, you should proactively inform your doctor in order to take action to avoid affecting the test results. In some cases, your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop the medication.
But if you are unable to stop taking the drug, then there is little use in announcing the drug to help your doctor take into account the drug's effect during the analysis of serum iron test results.
Besides medications, there are other factors that may affect the serum iron index results that patients should be aware of before testing as follows:
- Iron-rich foods, supplements, and vitamin B12.
- If the patient has recently had a blood transfusion.
- Use of stimulants, alcohol, tobacco, cefotaxime, chloramphenicol … can cause temporary iron levels to rise.
- High doses of aspirin, metformin, and ACTH can lower iron levels.
- People who suffer from stress, fatigue, and insomnia are also causes affecting the iron concentration in the blood lowering iron levels.
- Inflammation, hyperlipidemia also increases the risk of artificially causing iron content.
Normal Serum Iron Test Results
Serum iron test results will be measured in mg / dL. The normal range of values for this test are:
- Iron content: Ranging from 60 – 170 mg/dl.
- Saturation transferrin: 25 – 35%.
- Optimal iron-binding (TIBC): 240 – 450 mg / dl.
In particular, quantitative transferrin will be able to know the current amount of minerals because this is a blood protein, responsible for transporting iron throughout the body.
And TIBC plays a role in helping to evaluate the effectiveness of transferrin also essential in the diagnosis of pathology.
Meaning Of Iron Serum Indicators
Meaning a serum iron test will know whether the iron content in the patient's blood is high or low. From there, help doctors come up with effective treatments.
The causes of abnormal changes in serum iron content are divided into the following two groups of causes:
1. Causes of decreased serum iron
Common causes of lower than normal levels of serum iron are:
- Patients with iron deficiency anemia.
- Severe iron deficiency in the diet.
- Causes of decreased iron absorption.
- Patients with blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, obstetrics, and gynecology.
Iron demand of the body increases in phases such as body growth, pregnant women, the menstrual cycle will cause loss of about 3-8 mg of iron in each period, post-operative patients, association Typical inflammation is active stage colloidosis, acute or chronic infection, cancer or neoplastic neoplasm.
Other causes of sharp deficiency: Extensive burns, hypothyroidism, uremic syndrome, nephrotic syndrome are often caused by urinary loss of iron-carrying proteins.
2. Causes of increased serum iron
Elevated serum iron can be attributed to:
- Patients who consume foods rich in iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 in excess.
- In addition, an elevated serum iron index may result from pathological causes such as:
- Hemolytic anemia: This is a mass rupture of red blood cells caused by abnormalities in red blood cell life.
- Iron Poisoning: When excess consumption of iron-containing foods leads to poisoning.
- Liver diseases: Hepatitis, necrosis of liver cells.
Costs of Serum Iron Tests
Regarding the cost of a serum iron test, in case of doubt, you need to visit a hospital for a doctor to prescribe the appropriate type of test.
For serum iron tests, the cost varies from place to place, based on many factors such as examination process, examination facility, a team of doctors, medical techniques … For the exact price, you should ask the doctor in charge for more specific advice.
In general, the cost of a serum iron test is not too high, only ranges from a few hundred thousand. This is a quite reasonable price for 1 test to promptly detect the body's abnormalities.
For more information regarding serum iron tests, you can contact hotline 19001717 – Diag for the fastest assistance and appointment.
For more information about our test menu and price list, please click here.
Thus, the serum iron test is extremely important to check for abnormal serum iron levels, to promptly propose effective treatment regimens, promptly prevent complications. danger. However, regarding this test result, it's best to consult your doctor specifically for your situation to get the most helpful advice!