Ferritin Blood Test
Tests & Procedures

What Is Ferritin Blood Test And Why Is It Done?

The body depends on the amount of iron present in your blood. Although iron has a vital role, either too much of it or too low of it can hamper your health. But, how do you know the amount of iron in the blood? Well, the answer is in the ferritin blood test which gives the exact picture of ferritin present in the blood. Ferritin is a protein that has iron.

What Is A Ferritin Blood Test?

A ferritin test is a test that measures the amount of ferritin in the blood and as said above ferritin is a blood protein that comprises iron. This test aids in knowing how much iron is present in the body.

The test finds out if the ferritin level in the blood is higher or lower than normal. A finding of this lets us know if there is an iron deficiency and if you are anemic, if the levels are higher than normal it means the body has more iron than it should have. This condition may be the result of a liver ailment, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. A few cancer types too can cause a high ferritin level.

Why Is This Test Done?

It is done to know the ferritin levels in the body, knowing the ferritin levels gives the picture of iron storage in the body. A ferritin blood test in pregnancy may also be recommended to know the amount of iron present during pregnancy.

[Also Read: Blood tests that require fasting]

How Is Ferritin Blood Tested?

This test is the same as any other blood test. A small amount of blood is drawn using a needle from the arm. This drawn blood is sent to testing. Ferritin blood test fasting is recommended to get exact results. One should not eat or drink anything before 12 hours of this test to get precise results. Usually, this test is done in the morning and has no major side effects.

The Normal Range For A Ferritin Blood Test

The ferritin blood test results are first assessed to know if the levels are within normal ranges. In general, the normal range is as follows;

  • 20 to 500 nanograms per milliliter in men
  • 20 to 200 nanograms per milliliter in women

In another way, the normal ferritin levels range from 12 to 300 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) for males and 12 to 150 ng/mL for females or in another way it is 24 to 336 micrograms per liter for men and 11 to 307 micrograms per liter in women.

However, each lab may have a different measurement for normal ranges. As such your doctor is the best person to tell you if your range is within the normal or not.

Ferritin Levels High

Higher than normal ferritin levels may mean there is more iron than needed in the body.

Symptoms of high levels of ferritin include;

Causes Of High Ferritin Levels

The following some are the causes of high ferritin levels;

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Liver disease
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Iron poisoning
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Hemochromatosis and
  • Diabetes may lead to this condition.
  • Obesity and inflammation also increase ferritin levels.

Ferritin Levels Low

Lesser than the normal range of ferritin is nothing but ferritin levels low.

Symptoms include;

  • Pale skin
  • Fatigues
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing shortness and
  • Rapid heartbeat.

Causes Of Low Levels Of Ferritin

  • Iron deficiency
  • Anemia
  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Stomach conditions that affect intestinal absorption
  • Internal bleeding

Tips To Maintain Normal Ferritin Levels

There are two ways of maintaining normal ferritin levels. If you are having high levels of ferritin levels you need to bring it down to maintain normal ferritin levels and if you have low levels of ferritin levels you need to bring the levels up to maintain normal ferritin levels.

Tips To Increase Low Ferritin Levels

Take oral iron supplements. For severe instances of anemia, a person could need treatment with intravenous iron.

For the best and quick results, people with low ferritin must take oral iron supplements filled with vitamin C to augment iron absorption. They must avoid antacids, tea, coffee, and calcium supplements within 2 hours of taking an iron supplement.

Tips To Lower Ferritin Levels

It depends on the condition. If you have hereditary hemochromatosis, doctors may typically suggest removing blood from the body using a process known as phlebotomy.

A ferritin blood test is a simple blood test but a vital test to know the amount of iron in a person’s body.