Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is a chronic condition that results from inadequate healthy red blood cells, hence decreased capacity for hemoglobin and subsequent oxygen transport. Iron is a prerequisite for the growth and development of red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia also results from torrential hemorrhages such as accidents, severe bleeding from surgery, or any other activity exposing an individual to torrential hemorrhage.

Individuals with bleeding disorders also risk developing iron-deficiency anemia (Mirzy et al., 2018). Individuals with maladaptive syndromes are also at risk. Bleeding or decreased iron stores lead to the development of small RBCs with low hemoglobin levels. The symptoms of the disease include paleness, shortness of breath, strange cravings, leg tingling or crawling sensation, a fast heartbeat, brittle nails, and headaches.

Serum ferritin Test for Iron Deficiency Anemia Screening

The selected diagnostic test is serum ferritin. Bone marrow aspirate is the most accurate test for Iron deficiency anemia, but it is invasive and not readily available. Hence, the serum ferritin test is the most clinically significant. Serum ferritin is the most practical test, measured through radioimmunoassay, and helps identify an iron deficiency. Healthcare providers order other tests to understand the characteristics of red blood cells when serum ferritin levels are lower than normal.

Capellini et al. (2020) state that serum ferritin is sensitive to the depletion of iron stores and is the most important marker of iron levels. Ferritin is an iron-binding and transport protein. It is available in the bloodstream and transports iron to cells requiring it. When iron stores are low, serum ferritin level drops to detectable levels. The test has been used for a long time in healthcare facilities are the screening tool for iron deficiency anemia.

Mirzy et al. (2018) note that women of reproductive/childbearing age are the most affected by iron deficiency anemia due to the monthly blood loss through menstruation. Some women experience menorrhagia and are at more risk. Iron is lost with blood loss, and lack of access to iron-rich foods or maladaptive syndromes leads to depletion of iron stores, and the demand increases more than the supply.

Serum Ferritin Test Analysis

Serum ferritin is a screening test and not a good diagnostic test. The test is widely used to determine iron deficiency of iron in many healthcare conditions, and thus the test cannot be used to determine. Serum ferritin tests have a high sensitivity (95%) and specificity (91%) in detecting iron deficiency (Fothergill et al., 2018). The test does not test for iron deficiency but is a primary predictor because it tests iron levels in the blood.

Forthergil et al. (2018) tested iron deficiency anemia diagnostic tests such as hemoglobin and serum ferritin. The study showed that serum ferritin tests have a high sensitivity and a low specificity in screening for iron deficiency anemia in women of reproductive age.

Mei et al. (2021) note that the test can be used to determine the various stages of iron deficiency hence its significance in iron deficiency anemia. Serum ferritin tests help determine the level of iron stores and are not an indicator of iron deficiency anemia. However, it is effective in detecting the disease in its early stages of development, as is the role of screening (Capellini et al., 2020).

The test alone cannot help diagnose or rule out iron deficiency but is rather the first step in diagnosing iron deficiency anemia hence its significance. Iron deficiency anemia develops over time, and hemoglobin tests may not detect it early (Capellini et al., 2020).

Incorporating this test is important in advanced nursing practice. Iron deficiency anemia begins early, and iron deficiency is the precursor of the problem. Thus, detecting and acting on low Iron levels is vital to preventing iron deficiency anemia. The screening test will thus be important in preventing iron deficiency anemia in many populations, including women of childbearing age.


Iron deficiency anemia is common among women of reproductive age. Screening helps detect problems early and helps prevent them. Screening tests may target the problem or changes it causes or precipitates it in the body. All individuals with iron deficiency anemia have low ferritin levels, but not all individuals with low serum ferritin levels have iron deficiency anemia hence the high sensitivity and low specificity.

Thus, the test determines iron deficiency, a precursor to iron deficiency anemia. The test can also diagnose other healthcare conditions such as liver problems and preterm labor. Understanding the predictive ability of a test helps healthcare providers implement the best tests for optimum health outcomes.


Addo, O. Y., Mei, Z., Hod, E. A., Jefferds, M. E., Sharma, A. J., Flores-Ayala, R. C., Spitalnik, S. L., & Brittenham, G. M. (2022). Physiologically based serum ferritin thresholds for iron deficiency in women of reproductive age who are blood donors. Blood Advances.

Cappellini, M. D., Musallam, K. M., & Taher, A. T. (2020). Iron deficiency anemia revisited. Journal of Internal Medicine287(2), 153-170.

Fothergill, A., Crider, K., Johnson, C., Raj, M., Guetterman, H., Bose, B., Rose, C., Qi, P. Y., Williams, J., Kuriyan, R., Bonam, W., & Finkelstein, J. (2022). Comparison of Anemia Screening Methods Using Paired Venous Samples in Women of Reproductive Age in Southern India. Current Developments in Nutrition, 6(Supp. 1), 567-567.

Mei, Z., Addo, O. Y., Jefferds, M. E., Sharma, A. J., Flores-Ayala, R. C., & Brittenham, G. M. (2021). Physiologically based serum ferritin thresholds for iron deficiency in children and non-pregnant women: a US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) serial cross-sectional study. The Lancet Haematology, 8(8), e572-e582.

Mirza, F. G., Abdul-Kadir, R., Breymann, C., Fraser, I. S., & Taher, A. (2018). Impact and management of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in women’s health. Expert Review Of Hematology, 11(9), 727-736.