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Could I have an iron deficiency even if I am not anemic?

People can be deficient in iron long before they actually become anemic. This is evident on blood tests ordered by your doctor on small blood cells. This occurs because there is a period in which the body is trying to use the last of its iron stores and therefore is not making blood cells normally. During this period the person is very low on iron but has not yet actually become anemic.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Iron is an essential nutrient, critical for producing hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen to every cell in the body. If you don't have enough iron, your body has to work a whole lot harder, which can leave you feeling tired, weak, irritable, and unable to focus.

Many equate iron deficiency with anemia, the condition in which your body has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. But research shows that there's a whole other category of iron deficiency that precedes anemia. To diagnose it, a blood test must measure ferritin levels, the iron stores in your blood.

Many people go through their annual medical exam assuming that their physician is checking for low iron, but this is not the case. The typical blood work carried out includes cholesterol and blood pressure numbers, for instance, but not iron, unless you describe a specific symptom that warrants it. What's more, even if you are checked for anemia, you're not given a ferritin blood test that could show low iron levels indicating a mild to moderate deficiency.
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.