Iron is a crucial nutrient that helps carry oxygen throughout the body and plays a critical role in energy production. Iron deficiency can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and difficulty concentrating. A blood test in a traditional lab setting is the most accurate way to diagnose an iron deficiency, but really, who has time for all of that when a simple at-home iron test can provide a quick, affordable, and convenient way to check your iron levels too? In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps of doing an at-home iron test.
Can I Test My Iron Levels At Home?
Yes, you can test your iron levels at home. An at-home test can also be made quite specific to focus on certain aspects of iron testing, such as total iron binding capacity. Also, a serum iron test measures iron levels in the liquid part of the blood.
The Function Of Iron
Iron is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in the body’s function. It helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and also aids with energy production.
The Effects Of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency can cause a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, and difficulty concentrating. Having a low iron level can lead to conditions such as iron deficiency anemia.
If you have a history of iron deficiency anemia or are at risk due to certain medical conditions, it is essential to work with a healthcare professional to help you monitor your iron levels with the help of home testing kits.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend dietary changes or iron supplements to help maintain healthy iron levels.
Additionally, you want to ensure that you are not having too much iron, as this can lead to a whole next issue called hemochromatosis (iron overload).
Iron overload occurs when there is too much iron being stored in your organs, like the liver, pancreas, and heart.
When you have an iron overload, it can lead to further complications, including liver disease and diabetes.
How Can I Test Iron Levels At Home?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to test your iron levels using an at-home iron test kit:
Purchase an at-home iron testing kit:
You can find these kits online or at a local pharmacy. Make sure the kit includes all the necessary components, such as a lancet, test strip, and solution.
Click here to access our top recommendations for iron test kits.
Read the instructions carefully:
Each kit may have slightly different instructions, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the steps before starting the test.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water:
This will help prevent any bacteria or dirt from getting on the test strip. A contaminated test strip could affect the test results.
Some kits may also include an antiseptic swab for cleaning the finger you will use to collect the blood sample.
Prepare the lancet:
The lancet is a small needle used to prick your finger and draw blood. Twist off the top of the lancet and place it against the side of your finger. Press the button on the top of the lancet to complete the finger prick.
Collect the blood sample:
Use the test strip to collect a small drop of blood from your finger. If there is no blood at the prick site, gently squeeze your finger to encourage a small drop of blood to form.
Touch the test strip to the drop of blood, and it should soak into the strip.
Place the test strip into the solution:
Once you’ve collected the blood, place the test strip into the solution provided with the kit.
Wait for the results:
The color change on the test strip will indicate your iron levels. Refer to the color chart provided with the kit to determine how much iron is in your body.
Interpret the results:
If the test strip shows a dark color, it may indicate that your iron level is high (iron overload). If the test strip shows a light color, it may indicate that you have low iron levels (iron deficiency).
Consult with a healthcare professional:
If you have any concerns about your iron level, it’s essential to speak with a healthcare professional.
They can provide you with more information about your iron levels and recommend any necessary treatments or dietary changes.
Are At-home Iron Tests Accurate?
At-home iron tests are generally considered to be less accurate than blood tests performed by a healthcare professional.
However, at-home iron tests can still provide a convenient way to monitor blood iron levels and can be useful in detecting significant changes over time.
Factors such as diet, medication use, and even the time of day can affect iron levels, and at-home tests may not take these factors into account.
Furthermore, how accurately you follow the manufacturer’s instructions may also affect the test results. You also need to ensure that the blood sample was at no time contaminated.
If your test produces abnormal iron levels, it is essential to see a healthcare professional for a blood test.
A healthcare professional can perform a complete blood count (CBC) test, which measures the levels of different blood cells, including red blood cells, and can confirm if you have an iron deficiency.
In essence, some iron home testing kits will be more accurate than others, depending on the brand.
But, in general, they should all have a confident level of accuracy since they must follow certain regulatory standards that ensure product manufacturers have addressed safety and efficacy standards.
Before You Go...
One of the best at-home iron tests can provide a convenient way to monitor iron blood levels.
Moreover, regular monitoring of iron levels is important, especially for the elderly, Thankfully, there are specific home test kits for the elderlys.
Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action to maintain healthy iron levels.