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Iron: About This Test

What is it?

This test measures the amount of iron in your blood. It is done on blood taken from a vein in your arm.

Too little iron can cause anemia, which can cause weakness, tiredness, or lack of stamina.

Too much iron can cause hemochromatosis. This is usually an inherited disease that can cause tiredness, weakness, liver problems, and pain in the joints.

Why is this test done?

A test for iron is done to:

  • Check for too much or too little iron in the blood.
  • See if your diet is providing enough iron.
  • Find out if treatment to keep the right amount of iron in your blood is working.

How do you prepare for the test?

Your doctor will give you specific instructions. This test is often done first thing in the morning.

How is the test done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

What happens after the test?

  • You will be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

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