Iron and Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC) Blood Test
The Iron and Total Iron-Binding Capacity (TIBC) Blood Test assesses the body's ability to bind and transport iron in the blood, which can help identify an iron deficiency, anemia, or overload.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Iron and TIBC Blood Test to assess the body's ability to bind and transport iron in the blood, which can help identify an iron deficiency, anemia, or overload. Iron is an essential nutrient that is crucial for producing healthy red blood cells (RBCs), as well as other processes. It is a critical component of hemoglobin, a protein in RBCs that binds oxygen in the lungs and then releases it as blood circulates to other body parts. Unfortunately, the body cannot produce iron and must absorb it from food or supplements.
Typically, iron is transported throughout the body by transferrin, produced by the liver. If an individual is healthy, most iron is incorporated into the hemoglobin in developing RBCs in the bone marrow. The rest is stored in the tissues as ferritin, with other small amounts used for different purposes (producing other iron-containing proteins such as myoglobin and some enzymes).
Standard iron blood tests measure the total amount of iron in the blood to determine if iron levels or too low or too high. However, with the addition of a total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) test, individuals can also measure how much iron can attach to transferrin and other proteins in the blood, which can help determine if the abnormal levels indicate a severe health condition such as liver disease or malnutrition.
What do abnormal Iron and TIBC levels indicate?
When iron levels are too low, this may occur because of the following:
- Iron deficiency anemia, is a common form of anemia. Anemia is a disorder in which the body doesn't make enough red blood cells.
- Another type of anemia
- Thalassemia, is a genetic blood disorder that causes the body to produce fewer than normal healthy red blood cells.
However, if the iron levels are too high, it may indicate:
- Hemochromatosis, is a disorder that causes too much iron to build up in the body
- Lead poisoning
- Liver disease
When should I order an Iron and TIBC Blood Test?
An individual may order a Vitamin B12 Blood Test if their recent CBC with Differential test results indicate that their hemoglobin and hematocrit are low and their red blood cells are smaller and paler than normal (microcytic and hypochromic), indicating iron deficiency anemia. Common signs or symptoms of anemia include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Pale skin
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