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Iron studies or ferritin blood test

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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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

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 anemia, and your doctor will ask about symptoms and any possible blood loss, such as bleeding in your stool or heavy periods.

Why is my doctor ordering it?

If your doctor is investigating your red blood cell levels, or you have symptoms of low red blood cells (anemia), such as tiredness or shortness of breath, then an iron study test could be useful. Low iron without anemia 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 hemoglobin.

Are there any special requirements for the blood test?

You do not need to be fasting for this blood test, and there are no special requirements. It can be taken like any normal blood test.

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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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
EmailFacebookPinterestTwitter
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