How to Check Iron Level


If you have been experiencing symptoms, such as dizziness, bruising, lethargy, palpitations and feeling constantly cold, it may be necessary for you to find out what your iron level is. Since iron creates hemoglobin in your body, insufficient amounts of it can lead to conditions, such as anemia, as well as poor oxygenation of tissues and organs. You will need to see your doctor and ask him to help determine your iron level by using a number of methods of diagnosis.

Things You'll Need

  • Physical exam
  • Medical history disclosure
  • CBC
  • Ferritin level test
  • Peripheral smear

Have a physical examination. Your doctor can try to analyze the signs of whether your iron levels are normal or abnormal by checking things, such as your spleen liver, lungs, heartbeat, gums, skin and the like. A low iron level would adversely affect all of these.

Discuss your medical history and lifestyle habits with your doctor. Tell him about any symptoms, like fatigue, that you have been experiencing on a regular basis, as well as about past or current health problems, your menstrual history if appropriate, your diet and all medications you are taking, which may, additionally, be indicators of low iron levels.

Ask your doctor to order a CBC. A CBC is a Complete Blood Count, which tests your hematocrit and hemoglobin levels and checks for the presence of diseases and conditions, such as infection and anemia. The determination of what is considered an "average" result may be based upon ethnicity, gender or age.

Get a test to determine your levels of ferritin, a protein found in iron-storing cells. Ferritin levels are tied to your iron level. This test will reveal the amount of iron that your body is storing.

Consider getting a peripheral smear. This helps to analyze your red blood cells, by having you submit a blood sample, which is then looked at with a microscope to determine your iron level and/or look for other conditions.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you experience physical symptoms that are indicative of a low iron level, see your doctor as soon as possible, to get a diagnosis, so that proper treatment can be administered.

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