Iron Deficiency - Detection

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How was your iron deficiency detected?

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How is iron deficiency detected?

Your doctor or healthcare provider will do blood tests to screen for iron deficiency. No single test is used to diagnose iron deficiency. The most common tests for screening are

  • Hemoglobin test (a test that measures hemoglobin which is a protein in the blood that carries oxygen)
  • Hematocrit test (the percentage of red blood cells in your blood by volume)

These tests show how much iron is in your body. Hemoglobin and hematocrit levels usually aren't decreased until the later stages of iron deficiency, i.e., anemia.

Sometimes other blood tests are used to confirm that anemia is due to iron deficiency. These might include

  • Complete blood count (to look at the number and volume of the red blood cells)
  • Serum ferritin (a measure of a stored form of iron)
  • Serum iron (a measure of the iron in your blood)
  • Transferrin saturation (a measure of the transported form of iron)
  • Transferrin receptor (a measure of increased red blood cell production)
Return to Iron Deficiency

See what others are saying

Comment from: Ptadavid, Male (Patient) Published: March 11

My iron deficiency was detected during regular blood donation. I came up short on the iron level.

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Comment from: ali, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 21

I was 21 and started fainting constantly, feeling always dizzy and tired. I fainted twice a week usually. I went to the hospital and they didn't do anything for me. After going back for the fourth time they did a CT scan on my head and said nothing was wrong and sent me on my way. I made a doctor's appointment with the family doctor and he had blood tests done and called me the next day saying he sent in a prescription for iron for me to take 2 to 3 times a day. My iron was extremely low and he didn't know how I wasn't fainting more often than I already was. He also told me to take 2000 IUs of vitamin D a day as well because my levels of that were extremely low too. I was informed I will be on both medications most likely for the rest of my life. Lucky me!

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