What is serum iron?

The serum iron is the concentration of iron found in the blood. Iron plays an important role in our bodies, and a share is found in red blood cells and it is bound to hemoglobin, a part binds to ferritin and the hemosiderin and represents the body's iron storage, a third party expresses so-called iron transport. Which is the iron in the liver that reaches the blood, and binds to transferrin that is then transported to various organs that need it. Serum is the liquid that is left over from your blood plasma when the red blood cells and the clotting elements have been removed. Iron is an essential mineral that is very important for the body, it is absorbed through the stomach wall and enters the blood and then is transferred to the cells of the organs. Iron is necessary for the transport of oxygen, via the red blood cells (hemoglobin) and for the oxidation via cytochrome. Iron is mainly important to the human body because it is the main constituent of hemoglobin, cytochrome, and other components of respiratory enzyme systems. High or low levels of iron present in the body can cause a variety of vague symptoms, such as that of fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, and a patient’s mood.


Why measure the level of serum iron?

The serum iron exam can reveal and measure the concentration of iron in the blood that is bound to the hemoglobin (the so called iron transport) and assess whether the levels of serum iron present are at a normal. This test is not a routine test, it is usually ordered as a follow up examination, after there is an abnormal result on a more common test, such as that of a complete blood count or hemoglobin test.

The test is also used in instances where the doctor may suspect that your iron levels are abnormal, because you are exhibiting symptoms of anemia. If your iron levels are abnormal, whether too high (iron overload) or too low (iron deficiency). Symptoms of iron deficiency include the following, chronic fatigue, headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness, difficulty concentrating, grumpiness, misshapen nails, tongue and mouth sores, and the compulsion to eat nonfood items (pica). Symptoms that you have an abnormal high level of iron include the following, fatigue, darkening skin, lack of sex drive, lack of energy, pain in your abdomen and joints, weight loss and muscle weakness.


Standard of preparation

Sampling is usually done in the morning in the hospital. There are no special preparations needed for this test. The doctor will advise and recommend if you need to be fasting prior to the blood examination. You should inform your doctor of any medication you are taking prior to the exam, as some medical treatments may interfere with the blood results.


Is the examination painful or dangerous?

The examination is neither painful nor dangerous. The patient may feel a tingling sensation with the entrance of the needle in the arm when blood is being extracted for examination.


How is the exam performed?

The exam consists of a simple blood sample test.