Blood ferritin levels are measured using a ferritin blood test. It lets your doctor determine how much iron is stored in your body.
Suppose a ferritin blood test finds that your blood ferritin level is lower than the normal ferritin levels, your doctor or GP might prescribe over-the-counter iron supplements. A low ferritin level suggests that your body's iron stores are depleted and that you have an iron deficiency. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron. For a comprehensive overview, read our article here: Iron-Deficiency Anaemia: Symptoms, Causes.
Iron deficiency anaemia is a medical condition wherein due to the lack of iron, the body does not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen.
Suppose your ferritin levels are more significant than usual. In that case, you may have a condition that makes your body accumulate excessive amounts of iron. Too much iron can prove harmful for the body. In addition, it could indicate liver illness, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory disorders, or hyperthyroidism. Additionally, certain forms of cancer might induce an elevated ferritin level in the blood.
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What Is The Purpose Of The Ferritin Blood Test?
Suppose your physician feels you have an excess or deficiency of iron in your body. In that case, they may recommend a ferritin blood test. The exam can identify or imply:
➔ Iron deficiency anaemia
➔ Hemochromatosis - a disorder in which your body absorbs excessive amounts of iron from the food you eat
➔ Hepatic disease
➔ Adult Still's disease
How Should You Prepare For A Ferritin Blood Test?
If you are only providing a ferritin blood sample, you may continue to eat and drink normally. A ferritin blood test measures ferritin, transferrin saturation, total iron binding capacity and if required, red blood cells and haemoglobin. Fasting may be required for other types of blood tests. Always consult your GP or doctor ahead of time.
On the other hand, your doctor or nurse may instruct you to fast for 12 hours before your test. Most of the time, the test is taken in the morning. Consult your health professional if you have any inquiries about how to start preparing for your ferritin test.
Consider wearing short-sleeved clothes so the lab tech can quickly access your arm.
Signs That Your Ferritin Levels Are Low
Your physician may request a ferritin test if you exhibit any of the following signs of low ferritin levels:
· inexplicable fatigue
· persistent headaches
· ears ringing
· leg discomfort
· Insufficiency of breath
Signs That Your Ferritin Levels Are High
Having extremely high ferritin levels can potentially result in unpleasant symptoms. Sometimes, the consumption of too many iron supplements may lead to an iron overload in the body. Too much ferritin can cause Hemochromatosis. Symptoms of elevated ferritin levels include:
· Stomach discomfort
· Palpitations of the heart or chest aches
· extreme tiredness
· Joint pain particularly in the knees
· Damage to your organs, such as the liver and spleen, can also cause an increase in ferritin levels.
How Does a Ferritin Blood Test Work?
A ferritin test could perhaps take no more than a few minutes. Remember to avert your gaze if the appearance of blood or a needle causes dizziness or nausea.
After cleansing the surrounding skin, a medical professional will place a needle into a vein in your arm. They may enclose an elastic band around your upper arm to make it easier to locate the vein. After collecting the necessary blood volume, the medical professional will start by removing the bandage and syringe and applying a cotton ball or application to prevent bleeding. The blood will be labelled and sent to a laboratory.
Risks of Ferritin Test
Like other standard lab tests and other blood tests, the ferritin test is regarded as safe. You might experience the accompanying side effects:
· Fainting or dizziness
· A swelling or bruise beneath the skin
· Mild distress where the syringe was inserted
Here Are the Normal Ferritin Levels for reference
· 24 to 336 micrograms per litre in the case of men
· 11 to 307 micrograms per litre in the case of women
Remember that not all labs get the same findings when testing the blood for ferritin levels. These are primary ranges, but different laboratories may have other preferences. If you want to know if your ferritin levels are standard, high, or low, you should always ask your healthcare provider for the lab's range of normal.
What Are the Causes of Low Ferritin Blood Levels?
If your ferritin blood test results indicate that the amount of iron in your blood is below the normal range, you may have an iron deficiency or anaemia. Your physician may recommend iron supplements or arrange additional blood tests to determine the underlying cause.
What Are the Causes of High Ferritin Blood Levels?
Results above the norm indicate that your body is conserving excessive iron. Your physician may modify your eating plan or supplements to lower the raised serum ferritin levels. Because such high iron is a sign of certain other health conditions, your doctor may suggest additional diagnostic procedures, such as:
· Rheumatoid arthritis or some other persistent inflammatory condition
· Hepatic disease
· Hodgkin's disease is a type of lymphoma
· You have received multiple blood transfusions
· Alcohol dependence
· You have consumed excessive iron supplements.
Acute phase reactants are what ferritin is. It implies that when the body is inflamed, the level of ferritin will rise. Because of this, people with liver disease or some forms of cancer, like Hodgkin's lymphoma, can have elevated ferritin levels.
For instance, ferritin is stored in the liver cells. When a person's liver is hurt, the ferritin within the cells starts to release out. Individuals with this and several other inflammatory disorders should have higher ferritin levels than usual.
The most common reasons for high ferritin levels are being overweight, inflammation, and drinking alcohol every day. Hemochromatosis is the most common cause of high ferritin levels caused by genes.
If the results of your ferritin blood test indicate a high serum ferritin level, your doctor might suggest other blood tests to understand the underlying cause.
What Does Your Result Mean?
Elevated iron levels can indicate iron overload which could be due to an underlying cause whereas, low iron levels imply that you have iron-deficiency anaemia.
If your ferritin results aren't within the normal range, it doesn't always mean you have a health problem that needs to be treated. Some medicines can lower or raise your levels of ferritin. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about your results.
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