Clinical Aspects and Laboratory. Iron Metabolism, Anemias: Novel Concepts in the Anemias of Malignancies and Renal and Rheumatoid Diseases

Disturbances of iron metabolism, particularly iron deficiency, are among the most commonly overlooked or misinterpreted diseases. This is due to the fact that the determination of transport iron in serum or plasma, which used to be the test in conventional diagnosis, does not allow a representative estimate of the body's total iron reserves. A proper estimate was formerly possible only by the costly and invasive determination of storage iron in the bone marrow, however, sensitive, well-standardized immuno-chemical methods for the precise determination of the iron storage protein ferritin in plasma are now available. Since the secretion of this protein correctly reflects the iron stores in the majority of cases, these methods permit fast and reliable diagnosis, particularly of iron deficiency conditions. The fact that iron deficiency is so common and is usually simple to treat ought to be well known in the medical world. Even non-iron-determined causes of anemia can now be identified rapidly by highly sensitive, well-standardized immuno-chemical methods. This book is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the main pathophysiological foundations and diagnostic principles.