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Iron and TIBC
Iron tests are a group of blood tests that are done to evaluate the iron level in blood serum, the body's capacity to absorb iron, and the amount of iron actually stored in the body. Iron is an essential trace element; it is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and certain enzymes. At the other extreme, high levels of iron can be poisonous.
The iron level test measures the amount of iron in the blood serum that is being carried by a protein (transferrin) in the blood plasma.
The TIBC test measures the amount of iron that the blood would carry if the transferrin were fully saturated. Since transferrin is produced by the liver, the TIBC can be used to monitor liver function and nutrition.
These tests are given for several reasons:
- To help in the differential diagnosis of different types of anemia.
- To assess the severity of anemia and monitor the treatment of patients with chronic anemia.
- To evaluate protein depletion and other forms of malnutrition.
- To check for certain liver disorders.
- To evaluate the possibility of chronic gastrointestinal bleeding. Blood loss from the digestive tract is a common cause of iron deficiency anemia.
- To help diagnose certain unusual disorders, including iron poisoning, thalassemia, hemosiderosis, and hemochromatosis.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.