An iron profile is a test that measures different substances in the blood to check the iron levels. Iron is an essential mineral in the body that transports oxygen from the lungs to other body parts. Iron also supports muscle health, organ function, and the bone marrow. Elevated or low iron levels may also cause serious health issues.
Some of these tests are done together to give more insight into health.
Serum iron blood tests aren't routine tests. A doctor usually orders iron blood tests if they think you have excess iron in your blood. An elevated iron level may be due to extensive blood transfusion or a genetic condition, but in rare cases, ingesting high amounts of iron (usually in children).
In the last, doctors usually ordered serum iron blood tests when they suspected iron deficiency. However, diagnosing iron deficiency now requires testing for ferritin (a form of iron stored in the body). Ferritin analysis measures the iron stores in the body and is a better iron deficiency indicator than measuring iron in the blood. However, a serum iron blood test is useful for diagnosing anemia linked to a long-term illness.
People with symptoms linked to iron deficiency or excess iron can undergo the iron profile blood test. These symptoms include:
The iron blood test can also help those with certain disorders, such as iron overload disorder and anaemia.
Ensure you arrive at your appointment well-hydrated to make the blood sample collection easier.
The medical professional will insert a small needle into a vein in your upper arm, near your elbow, to collect a small amount of blood.
We will email the results to you once they are available from the laboratory. If one of our doctors orders the test, the doctor will call you to explain the results. If you did not have a consultation at our clinic, you can take the result to your doctor or contact us to book a consultation.
Iron levels fluctuate throughout the day, depending on your diet. This makes measuring ferritin levels more useful for assessing your iron status. Ferritin levels below 30 micrograms/L confirm iron deficiency. However, this rate may be higher in people with chronic inflammatory conditions, causing falsely raised ferritin levels.
If you have extremely low iron levels, your body may struggle to carry sufficient oxygen to tissues, leading to iron deficiency anaemia and symptoms like low energy, shortness of breath, and tiredness. Depending on its cause, you may need iron injections or supplements to normalise your iron levels.
Elevated iron levels may cause health problems, and it may result from taking too many iron supplements, an inherited condition known as haemochromatosis, or excess iron in your diet. Over time, the liver and other organs store iron, and this build-up may result in joint pain, liver disease, and heart problems. However, treatments can reduce the iron levels in the body and reduce the risk of long-term damage.
If your low iron levels result from a poor diet, eating iron-rich foods such as meat, dark greens, and leafy vegetables can help, and drinking citrus juices can aid absorption.
If you eat only plant-based foods, your General Practitioner may recommend supplements to boost your iron levels and ensure you follow your GP's advice.
We can send everything you need for your iron levels test at home, including an easy finger-prick iron test kit and a pre-paid return envelope for your sample. Our at-home test iron test covers a full laboratory analysis of your sample, doctor's advice, and any necessary steps.