Iron is an essential nutrient that helps form normal red blood cells (RBCs). It is a critical part of hemoglobin, the protein in RBCs that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood circulates to other parts of the body. Iron also plays a role in energy level and maintaining proper muscle and organ function.
Tests included in the panel:
- Serum iron
- Total iron binding capacity (TIBC)
- Unsaturated iron binding capacity (UIBC)
- Serum ferritin
Too little iron can lead to iron deficient anemia whereas too much can cause damage to organs such as the heart, liver and pancreas. People with iron deficiency may experience symptoms such as chronic fatigue, dizziness, weakness, headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain or leg pain. Symptoms of iron overload can include joint pain, fatigue, weakness, abdominal pain, chest pain and lack of sex drive.
You may be instructed to have your blood drawn in the morning and/or fast for 12 hours before the test; in this case, only water is allowed.
The results normally take 1-3 business days from the receipt of the samples.