How To Interpret Blood Tests And Iron Indices Correctly for Alopecia

What is Alopecia in Hair Loss?

Alopecia means hair loss. A person has a round or oval shaped patch-shaped loss of scalp, eyebrow eyelashes, beard, mustache or body hair without any changes in the skin.

Quite frequently coming out of hair presupposes iron deficiency. All quotients can be within referential norms, which are stated on the form, but can be abnormal in terms of iron eubolism in an organism. This is due to the fact that majority of “norms” are intended for diagnostics of frank anaemia, instead of latent iron deficiency, the consequence of which can be alopecia.

Normal Hemoglobin Level for Alopecia

Normal haemoglobin level for women should be 125 g/l and more, for men it is 135 g/l and more, but these values cannot be used for diagnostics of latent iron deficiency.

Iron Deficiency Level for Alopecia

There is no use estimating separately values of serum iron and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), because even normal coefficient of transferrin saturation by iron does not exclude iron deficiency, if coefficient is below 15-16 %, this is a frank iron deficiency.

Low absolute values of total iron-binding capacity (below 45 mM/l), as a rule with a low level of iron (below 12 mM/l) can indicate concomitant zinc deficiency in an organism, which cannot be always revealed by the results of zinc test. In this case patients take zinc and iron for correction.

The Most Common Cause of Hair Loss in Women

The most widespread reason for hair loss for women is an iron deficiency. If coming out of hair lasts during more than 6 months and it is not caused by hormonal-genetic reasons, there is a high probability of iron deficiency. For the most of women of childbearing age iron-deficient state is usual. And haemoglobin indicator can be in norm. But this “normal” quantity of iron is enough only for maintenance of vitals health, for hair health additional reserve is needed. If you want to understand, if everything is all right with your iron level, do special tests. For stopping hair loss, caused by iron deficiency, it is necessary to fill its “depot”.

Where are Iron Depots?

They are in bone marrow, in spleen and in the liver. And only after its filling organism will “allow” apportioning peripheral tissues, which do not play vital role, by iron. For storing such supplies, it is not enough to keep special diet. Because there is a threshold of absorption of iron from food. Simple increasing of the number of products rich with this mineral, will not improve situation cardinally. Don’t expect great things of vitamin-mineral complexes and bioadditives, these remedies are capable only of raising the iron level slightly.

ESR Level in Blood Test

Ferritin is the most sensitive indicator, but interpretation of its values also has some restrictions:

If ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) is heightened in blood test. Its “high” level is false overstated and it is possible to estimate its actual values, dividing the result by half.

Ferritin is also the most standard value for iron deficiency, when it is below 40 µg/l, but sometimes trial (during 2-3 months) treatment of alopecia with iron medicines can be prescribed even if your level is just below 70 µg/l.

  • Iron deficiency causes diffuse alopecia, that’s why it is really important to detect it, especially for women.
  • If you have only results of haemoglobin level test, it is not enough.
  • You should know the level of serum iron (biochemical blood examination), total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) and the level of ferritin. Certain conclusions can be drawn by a specialist doctor with regard to this information.
You should also know how iron is distributed in an organism:
  • Iron is present in an organism as a part of haemoglobin erythrocytes and erythrokaryocytes of bone marrow.
  • This is iron “depot” (ferritin and hemosiderin).
  • Tissue iron (myoglobin, cytochromes, enzymes).
  • Transport iron (connected with blood protein – transferrin).

That’s why only the information about haemoglobin level does not give definite knowledge of iron deficiency presence or absence.

For supplying iron deficiency you should eat iron containing products (there is iron in meat reducing from beef to pork, than to poultry and to fish; there is iron in spinach, but you should only eat it with a lemon or vitamin C, because only small percent of it can be assimilated).


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