What are the symptoms? The total iron binding capacity (TIBC) test is typically used with a serum iron screening to check if you have too little — or too much — iron in your system.
Alternatively, if you have iron deficiency, that may signal anemia, a condition where the your body can't produce enough red blood cells to effectively carry oxygen to tissues and organs. Classic anemia symptoms typically include:
What does the test include?
Who should be tested? Consider this test if an immediate relative is known to have hemochromatosis, or if you are a Caucasian male of Northern European descent and are experiencing one or more of the symptoms noted above. That's because hemochromatosis is less prevalent in other ethnic groups, and men are more likely than women to have the disorder. If you have iron overload, this test will show your iron level as high and your TIBC level as low or normal. Since transferrin is made in the liver, this profile can also be used to monitor liver disease. The test can also be an effective nutritional screen, since TIBC levels tend to fall when there is not enough protein in the diet.
A second group that should consider this test includes senior citizens, women of childbearing age and people with chronic health conditions who exhibit symptoms of anemia. If your system has an iron deficiency, this test will verify low iron levels, but higher-than-normal TIBC.
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