How to Test at Home for Iron in the Blood

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Taking a blood test at home. (Image: Brendan Delany/iStock/Getty Images)

Iron is an important mineral that is necessary for a healthy body. Iron helps produce the oxygen-carrying proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin. Persistent low iron levels are more pronounced in menstruating, pregnant or lactating women, vegetarians, long-distance runners, and people with bleeding ulcers. Alternately, too much iron in the blood is a genetic condition called hemochromatosis in which the body is unable to control the amount of iron it absorbs. Although there is no simple take-home test to screen for your blood iron, you can generally test yourself using visual and physical indicators. Always consult your physician if any of these symptoms develop.

Step 1

Examine your gums, nails and skin. A low blood iron content will make them appear pale or yellow in color.

Step 2

Listen to your heartbeat. If it sounds rapid, irregular, or skips a beat, this may indicate low iron, although several other possibilities exist. If this persists, you should immediately contact your physician.

Step 3

Check your breathing to see if it’s regular or quick and uneven, which may be caused by iron-deficient anemia.

Step 4

Speak to your doctor if you experience tongue inflammation, restless leg syndrome or a desire to eat non-nutritive sources, such as dirt, which is a common craving for low iron in the blood.

Step 5

Be aware of any joint pain accompanied by fatigue, abdominal pain or general lack of energy as this may indicate hemochromatosis.

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