Normal Iron Levels in Blood
The entire body benefits from normal iron levels and these vary with age and gender. People with adequate amounts of iron in their body do not easily get sick and have active minds and bodies. But an iron level far from the normal limit is conducive to serious medical conditions. The iron level of a person is largely affected by his or her nutrition.
The Iron level is determined through blood test. It is should be noted that too much or insufficient iron pose serious health risks. And treatment procedure should be done with the doctor’s supervision.
How important is it to have normal iron levels?
Iron plays a very important role in maintaining the proper functioning of all bodily systems, and that is why it is considered as one of the most important minerals in the body. When the body has normal levels of iron, it produces sufficient amounts of hemoglobin which transports the oxygen from the lungs to other tissues in the body. A normal iron level contributes in the proper functioning of the brain as well as other activities of the body such as respiration and metabolic reactions which are important for the growth of new cells. Normal iron levels arecrucial for proper liver function and a strong immune system.
What are normal iron levels ?
Healthy iron levels vary with age and gender. The normal iron levels for newborns are between 100 and 250 microgram/dl and 50 to 120 micrograms/dl for children. On the other hand, female adults must maintain 65 to 165 micrograms/dl of iron, while male adults should have 75 to 175 micrograms/dl.
Tests to determine iron levels in blood
The following tests are conducted to determine if the person has normal iron levels.
- Serum test
This test is done to confirm iron poisoning.
- Total iron-binding capacity test (TIBC)
This particular test is conducted to assess the amount of iron carried by the blood when the transferrin is completely saturated. TIBC is often used to check the liver function because transferrin is excreted by the liver.
- Ferritin test
Ferritin test measures the protein levels in the blood.
- Transferrin Test
This test measures the siderophilin or transferrin levels in the blood.
Some tests may require the patient to fast for up to 12 hours, in which water is only permitted, before a blood sample is drawn from the vein of the patient’s arm. It is noteworthy that iron levels seem to be at their highest during the morning and lowest in the evening; so the blood testing might be done before noon.
Low or high iron levels
If the iron level of is too low or too high, the person is at risk of developing serious medical conditions.
- Low iron level
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency affecting around 9% of toddlers and 10% of adolescent girls and women in their childbearing years. Severe iron deficiency may lead to impaired intellectual and behavioral performance, significant decline in work aptitude, loss of energy, fatigue, weak immune system, slow growth and mental development among children, and even death.
- High iron level
High levels of iron can lead to serious health conditions like hepatitis, hemochromatosis, iron poisoning, hepatic necrosis as well as vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies. People with high iron levels are at risk of developing heart diseases, as well as abrasion of the organs and tissues.
Causes of abnormal iron levels in blood
Normal iron levels may drop due to the following conditions:
- Stomach ulcers
- Poor absorption of iron
- Prolonged or strenuous exercise
Normal iron levels may rise due to the following reasons:
- Excessive iron absorption due to defective genes
- Too much iron intake from diet and iron supplements
- Several frequent blood transfusions
What are the indicators of an abnormal iron level?
Signs of low levels of iron:
- Breathing difficulty
- Hair loss
Signs of high levels of iron:
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Breathing difficulty
- Loss of menstruation
- Severe fatigue
- Liver problems
Iron levels in blood to normal range – how to achieve it ?
For people with low levels of iron, it is often recommended to eat foods high in iron like red meats, dried fruits, eggs, beans, dark green leafy veggies and iron-fortified cereals. Iron supplements may also be taken with the recommendation of the physician. It is important to remember that iron must not be taken with calcium because it impedes the absorption of iron.
People with high levels of iron are treated by regular bloodletting or phlebotomies. Depending on the extent of the problem, phlebotomies might be done once a week; every other month or every three months until the level of iron has is within the normal limits.
Normal iron levels are important for a healthy mind and body; and with proper screening, a person may know the iron level in his or her body and take immediate action to bring it back to the normal level.