Is There a Quick Test for Iron Deficiency?
If your iron levels are too low, then this can have serious complications for your overall health and well-being. Untreated iron deficiency can increase your risk of developing illnesses, infections, and complications that affect the heart and lungs, especially if you are pregnant.
With this in mind, we are going to discuss iron deficiency in this article, as well as answer the question: ‘is there a quick test for iron deficiency?’
What is iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency, or anaemia, is a condition caused by a lack of iron in the body. It means that the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells, which provide oxygen to body tissues.
You may not realise you are deficient in iron, because sometimes the symptoms are not so obvious.
Iron is an important mineral which is needed for energy, immune function and for maintaining healthy blood. Meanwhile, children need iron for their growth and development.
We need iron because it plays a pivotal role in transporting oxygen throughout the body. Iron binds to a protein called haemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen to the tissues from the lungs.
If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. So, your body will struggle to cope without these stores of iron. Your lungs and heart will have to work harder to supply oxygen that the body needs, so you will feel more fatigued and short of breath.
What are the symptoms of iron deficiency?
- Feeling weak.
- Lack of energy.
- Dyspnoea (sudden shortness of breath or breathing difficulty).
- Dry or damaged hair.
- Hair loss.
- Cold hands.
- Increased heart rate.
- Abnormal paleness, or lack of colour of the skin.
- Altered sense of taste.
- Unusual cravings: e.g. a desire to eat peculiar substances such as dirt or ice (a condition called pica).
- Cracks at the corner of the mouth.
- Open sores (ulcers) on the corners of the mouth.
- Brittle fingernails which chip and crack easily.
- More frequent infections.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Restless legs.
- Bruising easily.
- Sore muscles.
- Developmental delays and behavioural problems in children.
Is there a quick test for iron deficiency?
So, is there a quick test for iron deficiency?
This is a self-administered finger-prick test, with easy-to-follow instructions and all the test kit materials provided.
Inside your test kit box, you will find:
- a test cassette
- a buffer
- an alcohol pad
- a capillary dropper
- a lancet
Simply follow the instructions provided, to take the test correctly, and the test will measure the levels of anaemia in your blood.
We will inform you via email of our full instructions on how to take your test and send the kit back to our accredited lab for analysis.
Once your results and personalised report are ready to view, you will receive a notification via email to log in to the Official Rapid Test online platform.
Using an at-home test kit is super convenient if you have a busy lifestyle. It means you don’t have to wait weeks to get your iron levels checked at your GP.
You can take the test at home and find out almost instantly if you are deficient in iron- which means you can start taking the steps to boost your iron levels.
Click here to shop our Instant Iron Deficiency Test.
If your results are outside the normal range and are of concern, it is a priority that you contact your local GP or emergency service by calling 111 or 999.
Please note: If you feel sick, unwell or are concerned about your health, it is your responsibility to get in touch with the emergency services as soon as possible, do not wait for results to be issued.
Disclaimer: If your test range is abnormal, we will not be held responsible for follow-up treatments or notifying a healthcare professional, by taking a test with us, you agree that you will take the necessary steps to follow up with a healthcare provider independently.
What can affect my iron levels?
Iron deficiency can occur at any point in your life. There are different factors which affect how high or low your iron levels are.
You may become deficient in iron because:
- you experience blood loss due to frequent blood donation or a health condition such as inflammatory bowel disease.
- your diet is too low in iron.
- of heavy menstrual periods or bleeding due to childbirth.
- you are pregnant or breastfeeding (as there is an increased need for iron.)
- of a stomach ulcer.
- you take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- your body is unable to absorb iron properly from food.
- you have a chronic illness such as cancer or an autoimmune disease.
How do you treat iron deficiency?
To treat iron deficiency, you can take iron tablets. These can be prescribed to you by your doctor.
If you suspect you are deficient in iron (anaemic), you can ask your GP for a blood test. They will check if your red blood cell count is normal. If the test shows that your red blood cell count is low, then your GP will prescribe you iron tablets and advise you on how to take them.
You should never take iron tablets if you have not been advised to by your doctor.
Never take more than the recommended dosage of iron tablets, as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If you take too many iron supplements, this can damage your cells and even lead to serious symptoms such as iron poisoning. For this reason, it is especially important to keep iron tablets away from children.
Improving your iron levels naturally
You can make efforts to improve your iron consumption through your diet. Choose foods that are rich in iron, and this will help you feel more energised and healthier.
Iron-rich foods include:
- green vegetables
- red meat such as beef and lamb
- legumes such as lentils
- seafood such as salmon, haddock and oysters
- whole wheat bread & bran cereals
- figs, dates and prunes
- pumpkin seeds and flax seeds
You can also find ways to manage fatigue and bring your energy levels back up. For instance, try eating smaller meals and healthy snacks spread throughout the day, rather than 3 larger meals.
In addition, try cutting out caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with iron absorption and iron storage levels. So, it is far better to drink more water instead, to stay hydrated and aid the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to your cells.
Did you know that cooking in a cast-iron skillet can transfer some of the iron into your food? It sounds bizarre, but preparing food in cast-iron cookware pots can boost your iron intake.
Read more articles like this
To learn more about iron deficiency, health tests, healthcare, and COVID testing, click here to read our blog articles on:
- What Happens if Iron Is Too Low?
- Can I Treat Iron Deficiency Myself?
- Welzo & NFC technology
- How Do You Test for Strep A?
- Coronavirus Symptoms in Children
- Walk-in Clinics for COVID Testing
- How to Get a PCR Test for Travel
- How to Get a COVID Recovery Certificate UK
About Official Rapid Tests
At Official Rapid Tests, we are a UK Government listed testing provider. We are a team of medical industry experts, with a combined experience of 40 years in the testing, diagnostic and medical services sector.
Are you looking to test yourself for Covid-19?
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We hope we have answered the question, ‘is there a quick test for iron deficiency?’
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