Serum Ferritin Test
What is Ferritin?
Ferritin is a type of protein which stores iron and releases it when needed by the body. Iron is used in the red blood cell formation as well as carrying the oxygen to various parts of the body through red blood cells. Very little ferritin is present in the body’s cells and even little circulating in your blood. The high concentrations are usually found in liver cells and the immune system. Ferritin will be stored in the body until it is needed by red blood cells. The body makes signals to the cells to release ferritin. Then ferritin gets bound to transferrin and transferrin transports it to the red blood cells.
Importance of Ferritin
Imbalance of ferritin levels in the body may lead to various conditions. High levels may damage the heart, pancreas, liver, and joints. Most people with this condition do not show any symptoms especially in women with heavy menstruation. A high intake of alcohol also leads to iron overdose.
Low levels may lead to iron-deficiency anemia. This indicates the low levels of red blood cells. This may be due to poor diet or heavy blood loss, sometimes it may also be due to problem absorbing iron from food. Iron deficiency is the most common problem seen in children. Extra iron is required during the growing stages of children. Low iron levels may also be due to long-term bleeding like heavy menstrual bleeding or intestinal bleeding, the presence of ulcers or tumors in the gut or during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Why ferritin test is performed?
This test may be recommended to you if you experience symptoms like heavy menstrual bleeding, intestinal bleeding, blood in stools, pale or yellow skin, feeling tired or weak, shortness of breath, chest pain, disturbances in a hearing, hair loss, brittle nails, reduced libido, etc. Children who drink whole cow’s milk and children who eat a lot of ice may also be recommended with this test. This test is also recommended to check how well the iron deficiency treatment is working.
Ferritin test result interpretation
Some conditions may interfere with your test results like a recent blood transfusion or on iron replacement therapy. Some medicines like antacids (pantoprazole, ranitidine), NSAIDs (paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin), etc also lead to bleeding in the digestive tract. Foods that are high in iron like meat, eggs, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, etc, cereals, wheat germ, raisins, whole grain bread, molasses, beans or drinking milk, blood donation or physical activity can also interfere with your results. Alcohol abuse also interferes with the test results.
If your test results are higher than the normal range it may indicate liver disease, inflammatory disease, hyperthyroidism (when your body produces more thyroid hormones), hemochromatosis (a genetic disorder with iron overload), leukemia (blood cancer), lymphoma (cancer of lymphocytes) or breast cancer.
If your blood results are lower than the normal range it may indicate iron-deficiency anemia, celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder), vitamin C deficiency, hypothyroidism (when your body produces fewer thyroid hormones).
- Overnight fasting is not required
- Doctor’s prescription may be needed
- The normal test result may vary depending on gender, age, health history, etc.
Also known as, ferritin blood test, serum ferritin test, ferritin test, serum ferritin, ferritin level test, ferritin level
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