Iron deficiency test

What is tested in the blood in case of iron deficiency?

If an iron deficiency is suspected, various blood values ​​are checked. These include above all the red blood cells, the red blood pigment hemoglobin and iron.
When there is an iron deficiency, the red blood cells are usually changed in their appearance. They are smaller than usual and also contain less hemoglobin.

The size of the erythrocytes and their hemoglobin content can be determined using the MCV and MCH values.

  • MCV stands for the mean cell volume and MCH for the content of hemoglobin in the red blood cells.

In the case of iron deficiency, these are below the normal values. Due to the iron deficiency, fewer erythrocytes can generally be produced, which is why the number of red blood cells is also reduced. In addition, the erythrocytes make up the largest number of blood cells, which is why their number is representative of the total amount of cells in the blood.

The total volume of blood cells is called the hematocrit. If the iron deficiency has persisted for a long time, the hematocrit, which is given as a percentage, is therefore usually lower.

In addition, if there is an iron deficiency, the iron content is also determined. There are various values ​​that can be determined here. Mostly one invokes the so-called ferritin, a protein that is used to store iron.
In contrast to iron, its expressiveness is less subject to fluctuations.

You also look at the transferrin. It is another protein that is used to transport iron. With less iron in the body, there is also a reduction in the transferring content in the blood.

Read more on the subject under: Headache due to iron deficiency

Do you have to be sober for an iron deficiency test?

Those affected do not have to be sober to determine the iron content, which is carried out by a doctor's blood test.

If you want to have your blood sugar or cholesterol determined, you must appear sober to get a reliable result.

Read more on the subject under: Consequences of iron deficiency and causes of iron deficiency

Can you detect iron deficiency in your urine?

The iron content is determined in the blood. An examination of the urine for iron is not usual, since no statement about the iron content can be made from the urine.

If there is a suspicion of anemia, those affected should prepare for a blood sample with a subsequent examination in the laboratory.

How useful are online self-tests?

During the online self-test, questions are usually asked about various symptoms that are associated with iron deficiency. Furthermore, questions are asked about eating habits and possibly also about age, gender and previous illnesses.

The self-tests can be useful as a rough guide. If the suspicion of iron deficiency hardens, however, a visit to the doctor is essential, as a reliable determination of the iron content can only be made by taking a blood sample.

It should also be noted that in addition to an iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia, there are also other deficiency symptoms that can produce similar symptoms. This is precisely why a subsequent blood test is so important in the event of a positive test result from an iron value self-test.

The costs

The costs for a blood test to determine the iron value are usually borne by the health insurance fund. For privately insured persons, the cost of taking a blood sample, including laboratory analysis of the sample, is around 50-100 euros.

Experience has shown that the amount will be reimbursed to the patient after the doctor's bill has been presented to the health insurance company.

Will the health insurance take care of that?

The iron content can be determined in a so-called small blood count. This requires a blood sample from the doctor and a subsequent laboratory test. This is a routine measure that is usually covered by the health insurance company.

Private patients usually have to pay in advance for their doctor's bills. The reimbursement by the private fund takes place after the invoice is submitted. You can ask the treating doctor in advance what the costs will be. For the blood draw and the laboratory, costs of around 50-100 euros are usual.

However, the private insured will usually reimburse the invoice amount from the health insurance company.