Iron is an essential mineral that the body needs to produce hemoglobin , a homoprotein in the blood that is used to transportoxygen from the lungs to the tissues.A deficiency of it generates what we know as anemia, the most well-known health problem linked to this mineral in which the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells. This condition usually manifests itself in those people who do not take enough iron in their diet or who have poor absorption or another pathology that prevents the body from obtaining the sufficient amount of iron that its body needs.
As the body becomes more deficient in iron and the anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify. Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia may include:
Pale skin Chest
pain, rapid heartbeat, or shortness of breath
Headache, dizziness, or vertigo Cold
hands and feet
Swollen or painful tongue
nails Unusual cravings for non-food substances nutritious foods, such as ice, dirt, or starch
Loss of appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia
And heeding the wise popular advice, both excess and deficiency are the opposite of the healthy middle ground. In this sense, if we have all heard about the aforementioned anemia and the consequences of low iron on health, at the other extreme we find a new silent enemy related to its excess .
called hemochromatosisThis disease, less well known than anemia, affects a smaller number of people, although it is just as problematic. In this case, the process occurs in the opposite direction. Under normal conditions, the body controls iron levels by absorbing only the amount it needs. But in the case of people with hemochromatosis, the absorption of iron is greater and the surplus accumulates in the organs and joints.
This can cause toxic damage especially where it accumulates the most, which is in the liver, but also in the pancreas, in the heart and in the joints. It can end up causing cirrhosis, heart failure, diabetes… that is, widespread damage.
It is common, for example, in the case of women who, due to heavy menstruation, would under normal circumstances have some anemia due to lack of iron. Hemochromatosis makes up for it, and his tests come back normal. It is after menopause, when she stops losing iron with the blood, that this pathology can be detected.
NORMAL BLOOD IRON VALUES
Iron tests measure different substances in the blood to determine iron levels in the body. To reveal the amount of iron in the blood , look for the result in the blood count section . The values that show the amount of iron in the blood are red blood cells, hemoglobin and hematocrit.
red blood cells
They can offer health data such as the presence of anemia -iron deficiency- since red blood cells are responsible for transporting hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to tissues. The decrease in red blood cells is manifested with tiredness and fatigue.The normal values of erythrocytes in the blood are: Women
4 and 5.2 million/mm3
Men: between 4.5 and 5.9 million/ mm3 of red blood cells. When the hemoglobin level is below the normal range ,anemia is being detected .
which can be of different origin: primary anemia, pregnancy, kidney diseases, eating disorders… A low hemoglobin level is usually accompanied by a low hematocrit level. The normal values of hemoglobin in the blood are:
In women: between 12 and 16 g/dl
In men: between 13.5 and 17.5 g/dl
The hematocrit (Hct) is the percentage of erythrocyte mass in relation to blood volume . It provides the data with which hematimetric values are calculated and with whichdifferent types of anemia can be detected (megaloblastic, iron deficiency…). Normal hematocrit values are for:
Women: between 36 and 46%.
Men: between 41 and 53%
This protein helps store iron in the body. If a ferritin test shows higher than normal levels, it could indicate that you have a condition that causes your body to store too much iron. It can also be caused by other factors such as:
Acute or chronic inflammation due to different pathologies.
Liver disease due to high alcohol consumption or various liver problems.
Renal insufficiency , causing a generalized metabolic alteration.
Different metabolic syndromes .
High iron diets will need more ferritin to store
it Anemia, will cause hyperactivity of iron to try to solve the problem, with a consequent increase in ferritin
. The results are indicated in nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). The normal range for ferritin in blood serum is:
20 to 250 ng/ml for adult men
10 to 120 ng/ml for adult women ages 18 to 39 years
12 to 263 ng/ml for women 40 years of age or older
From 25 to 200 ng/ml for newborns
From 200 to 600 ng/ml at 1 month of life
From 50 to 200 ng/ml at 2 to 5 months of age
From 7 to 140 ng/ml for children from 6 months to 15 years