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What is it?
An iron profile is made up of several blood tests that give information about iron in your blood. The iron profile measures total amount of iron in your blood. It also checks to see if the iron is attaching to protein as it should. The iron profile may also tell how much iron is in the body besides what is in red blood cells.
Why do I need it?
Iron profiles are used to find and test for anemia. The iron profile is the best way to tell the difference between iron deficiency (not enough iron in your blood) anemia and other kinds of anemias. Those most at risk for iron deficiency anemia are babies, children, young teenagers, and pregnant women. The iron profile is also helpful in finding and treating iron overload (having too much iron in your blood). You may have iron overload because it runs in the family. Iron overload also may be caused by children taking iron medicine belonging to another person.
How do I get ready for the test?
Your caregiver will tell you when to have your blood test done. The blood test may be done before or after eating. Certain drugs are known to influence circulating iron levels. Your caregiver will tell you if you should not take your medicines until after your blood is taken.
How is the specimen collected?
A caregiver will put a wide rubber strap around your arm and tighten it. Your skin will be cleaned with alcohol. A small needle attached to a special test tube will be put into a vein in your arm or hand. The tube has suction to pull the blood into it. When the tube is full, the rubber strap, needle and tube are removed. The caregiver will press a piece of cotton where the needle was removed. You may be asked to hold the cotton on the site for a few minutes to help stop the bleeding. Tape may then be put over the cotton on your arm.
What do I do after the test?
You may remove the tape and cotton in about 20 to 30 minutes. Call your caregiver to get the results of your test. Caregivers will explain what your test results mean for you. Follow the instructions of your caregivers.
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your lab tests. You can then discuss the results with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.