Iron Lab Test

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-24 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

As much as 70% of the body's iron is found in the hemoglobin of the RBCs. The remaining 30% is stored in the form of ferritin and hemosiderin. Abnormal levels of iron are indicative of diseases such as iron deficiency anemia and hemochromatosis. Iron is supplied by the diet, where 10% of the ingested iron is absorbed in the small intestine and transported to the plasma. There, it is bound to a globulin protein called transferrin and carried to the bone marrow for incorporation into hemoglobin.[1],[2]

Patient Preparation

  • Patient should fast 12 hours before the blood test
  • Water is permitted
  • Factors which can cause increased levels:
  • Recent blood transfusions, recent ingestion of a meal containing high iron content, hemolytic diseases
  • Drugs: chloramphenicol, dextran, estrogens, ethanol, iron preparations, methyldopa, and oral contraceptives
  • Factors which can cause decreased levels:

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

Low levels indicate:

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J, (1998) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby, Inc
  2. Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain