Iron deficiency anaemia - do you know the symptoms?

Iron deficiency anaemia - do you know the symptoms?

Monday 1st November 2021

Iron deficiency anaemia is a common, major, and global public health problem. Women of childbearing age and pregnant women are at particular risk. Common symptoms of iron deficiency can include headaches, tiredness, lack of energy, palpitations, and hair loss.

Measurement of specific biomarkers in the blood, such as ferritin, are a simple and more reliable indicator of iron deficiency anaemia compared to a full blood count. Knowing that you have a low iron level can help you seek advice from your pharmacist and doctor to help you reduce the risks of long-term diseases associated with iron deficiency anaemia.

The SELFCheck Iron Level Test is a quick, 10 minute, reliable immunodiagnostic test for the assessment of your ferritin level from a finger prick blood sample and was launched in the UK by SELFCheck in November 2021. Ferritin is a protein and is the main way in which iron is stored in your cells. The result is read in a similar way to a pregnancy or COVID test, for example; one line visible in your test result (next to the C mark) means that the ferritin concentration in your blood is lower than 20ng/mL and you could have an iron deficiency whilst two lines on the test cassette means that your ferritin levels are in the normal range and that you are unlikely to have iron deficiency anaemia.

If your test says that you could be iron deficient you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist and mention the test results. Your doctor will decide whether any additional investigation should be performed.

The SELFCheck Iron Level Test is accurate and the same components have been used for more than 10 years by healthcare professionals in hospitals and laboratories. Comparison of the SELFCheck Iron Level Test with reference laboratory methods shows an overall agreement of at least 98%. Although this test is very reliable, doctors are aware that all medical tests whether used in the laboratory or at home may give a small number of false positive or false negative results.

Further reading

NHS - iron deficiency anaemia

Lopez, A et al (2016) Iron deficiency anaemia, The Lancet, Volume 387, Issue 10021, 27 February-4 March 2016, Pages 907-916