To assess a patient’s iron status, measurements of iron, TIBC (total iron binding capacity) and measurement of ferritin are performed. Transferrin is a substance that transports iron in the plasma. If the saturation is below 20%, the amount of iron carried by transferrin is decreased. In this situation it is also expected that the absolute serum iron will be low. Normally in iron deficiency, iron is low, TIBC is high, percent saturation is low and ferritin is low. The iron can be low due to poor diet or due to inability of gut to absorb iron as seen in malabsorption syndromes, IBS etc. Iron supplements help but cause of deficiency needs to be found out.
Please consult your PCP for primary examination followed by proper referral to a hematologist. Take care!
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