How to Check Iron Levels

Updated May 10, 2017

Testing iron levels is essential for individuals with anaemia, malnutrition, or other iron deficiency complications. A lack of iron, or anaemia, can cause weakness, fatigue and bruising. Without iron, the body cannot make adequate haemoglobin, according to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). The process of checking iron levels is simple for a well-trained medical professional.

Identify a vein suitable for drawing blood. Cleanse the test site with antiseptic and a sterile cotton ball. Typical areas include the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

Wrap the upper arm with the elastic band to apply pressure in the test area, causing the vein to fill with blood.

Insert the needle into the vein. Slowly pull back on the vial until the sample fills between 6 ml and 10 ml, depending upon your facility's requirements.

Withdraw the vial from the needle and close it with the vial cap. Label the sticker with patient identifiers and apply it to the tube. Withdraw the needle from the vein as you place a sterile cotton ball over the wound. Apply pressure to the site for 10 seconds and then cover with a bandage.

Send the vial to your laboratory for analysis under a microscope. The results can take up to 2 days. According to the NLM, normal results for a male will be 12-300 ng/ml and for a female they will be 12-150 ng/ml. Ng/ml refers to the number of nanograms per millilitre.

Things You'll Need

  • Antiseptic
  • Cotton swabs
  • Elastic band
  • Needle
  • Vial
  • Bandage
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About the Author

Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.