What is iron panel blood test?

May 27, 2010

A panel blood test is the term given to a group of tests that are applied to a particular organ or body fluid. A panel test is used when more than one type of component needs to be checked. Often the various components of an organ or fluid may not respond to the same type of test procedure and it is necessary to conduct a series of different tests in order to get a complete set of results. Therefore, an iron panel test which refers to a series of tests is conducted on a sample of blood to measure the levels of various components that are typically found in blood. Medical research has helped to formulate target values or ranges for all the various items that one finds in the blood and these are used as a reference when testing the blood. The results of an iron panel test can be compared to these values in order to understand if there is an excess or deficiency in the person's blood.

In human beings, iron is extremely vital, but too much iron content in the blood can prove to be harmful and poisonous to the body. Iron regulation is thus an important biological function. A lack of iron in the blood leads to a condition known as anemia. Iron is usually absorbed into the body from food that we consume. A failure of the intestinal lining to absorb dietary iron may lead to this sort of a deficiency. Iron deficiencies could also be caused by blood loss where a large amount of blood and therefore iron is lost. High quantities of iron will cause damage to various organs where the blood circulates such as the heart and the liver. A severe condition of excess iron in the body is known as iron intoxication or iron overload. This is potentially a life threatening problem.

An iron panel test usually consists of four tests. There is the serum ferritin measurement. This is to test for the protein ferritin, which is the primary protein used for iron storage in the body. The second test is serum iron measurement which measures the actual value of iron in the blood at the time of the test. The third test which is conducted, tests the iron binding capacity, mainly, the capacity of the blood to transport iron. Often if the iron quantity is low but the capacity could be high, a diagnosis can thus be made if the patient is not consuming enough iron, or is not able to absorb iron effectively. The final test is for transferrin which is also a protein that binds iron.

Submitted by M T on May 27, 2010 at 05:59

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