Iron intake plays a very significant role in the maintenance and development of the human body. The substance plays a very important role in the formation of hemoglobin as well as the production of certain enzymes while it also helps in the transportation of oxygen in the blood to all parts of the body. Suffering from an iron deficiency would reduce the speed and efficiency of the body in carrying out its normal functions. Some of the symptoms that one is likely to encounter when suffering from lack of iron in the blood include; breathlessness, headaches, a loss of appetite, insomnia and pallor. A deficiency of iron is also known to affect normal growth and thus cause problems for a person. Besides it could also lead to problems like deafness as well as reduced bone density.
Also known as a Ferritin blood test, the iron blood test is used to evaluate the amount of iron stored within the human body. The test is usually ordered when there is a suspicion that the patient has either too much or too little iron in his or her body. In most cases, the suspicion will arise out of an analysis of routine blood tests that also show low hemoglobin levels. Because of the fact that ferritin levels tend to either drop or rise even before a symptom occurs, they are considered to be one of the most effective indicators of abnormal iron storage.
As with any other type of blood test, blood test for iron levels is performed by obtaining a sample of the patient’s blood before sending it to a laboratory for analysis. Before the sample is obtained, the area of the arm where the syringe will be inserted is cleaned with the help of an antiseptic solution. A tight band is fastened towards the top of the arm to temporarily restrict blood flow, thereby causing the vein to become more prominent. Once the sample has been collected into a vial attached to the syringe, the vial is sealed, marked and sent to the laboratory for analysis. A piece of cotton is then pressed onto the area where the syringe punctured the skin to expedite clotting and healing.
There is no specific preparation required when it comes to undergoing an iron blood test but you do need to inform your doctor if you are taking any medication, either prescribed or otherwise. This is necessary, as the substances may have a tendency to interfere with the test results. The only risk involved with the test being performed under the strictest of medical hygiene conditions is the likelihood of the patient feeling a little faint after the sample has been obtained. This will usually wear off after a few hours rest.