Blood tests have many different uses. They can be used to diagnose a condition, to monitor a particular organ in the body such as the kidney or liver, and they can also be used to give measurements of bodily processes such as blood sugar or current levels of inflammation.
Iron studies are a commonly requested blood test that provides information on the levels of iron stores within the body. Iron is an important building block for making new red blood cells, and your body would struggle to make red blood cells efficiently without adequate iron stores.
Ferritin is another marker of iron levels and may be requested alongside iron studies.
If these markers are low, you may be at risk of iron deficiency anaemia, and your doctor will ask about symptoms and any possible blood loss, such as bleeding in your stool or heavy periods.
If your doctor is investigating your red blood cell levels, or you have symptoms of low red blood cells (anaemia) such as tiredness, shortness of breath, then an iron study test could be useful. Low iron without anaemia can also cause symptoms, including hair loss and tiredness. These tests will tell your doctor how your iron stores are, and whether your body has everything it needs to continue creating red blood cells efficiently. Usually, the information would be paired with a full blood count result of your red blood cell levels, or haemoglobin.
You do not need to be fasting for this blood test, there are no special requirements. It can be taken like any normal blood test and is usually taken in a gold or yellow colour bottle.
Remember to press hard for a good few minutes after the needle has been removed and keep your elbow straight, to prevent a nasty bruise!
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