Everything You Need to Know About Ferritin Blood Test

Everything You Need to Know About Ferritin Blood Test

Iron is an essential component needed for a body’s development. Proteins such as Hemoglobin found in red blood cells and myoglobin that transports oxygen to muscles are both made from iron. In the absence of iron, proteins will not form and it will lead to iron deficiency in your body.

So if you have symptoms like anaemia, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, headache, or dizziness, then it might be time to take a ferritin blood test.

What is Ferritin?

Ferritin is a protein found throughout the body that accumulates iron and releases it in a supervised manner. Ferritin, an iron storage protein, is the principal mechanism for iron storage and is essential for maintaining iron homeostasis.

The protein provides iron for highly significant cellular functions while shielding lipids, DNA, and proteins from iron’s potentially harmful effects. Almost all living species, including bacteria and algae, synthesize ferritin.

Ferritin blood test

A ferritin test determines how much ferritin is in your blood. Ferritin is a kind of protein that consists of iron-containing blood. A ferritin test helps your doctor or a medical practitioner to assess what iron levels are present in your body.

If the ferritin level in your body is greater than usual, you may have an underlying problem that causes your body to accumulate too much iron. It could also be an indicator of liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, or hyperthyroidism. High blood ferritin levels in your body can also occur due to certain forms of malignancy.

Everything You Need to Know About Ferritin Blood Test

But, if lower-than-normal ferritin levels are revealed in your blood after a serum ferritin test, that implies that your body’s iron stores are alarmingly low and you might be suffering from iron deficiency and iron deficiency can lead to anaemia.

Why should you have a ferritin test?

Are you suffering from symptoms like extreme fatigue, anaemia, headache, chest pain, or dizziness? If yes, then you should go to a doctor to get checked. If the doctor determines that you might have iron in excessive amounts or extremely low amounts, then the doctor will suggest you take a serum ferritin test.

A ferritin blood test can determine the following aspects of your body:

  • Whether you have liver disease.
  • Anaemia
  • Whether you have an adult Still’s a disease.
  • Whether you have Hemochromatosis, a disease that makes your body consume more than normal amounts of iron from the food intake.

How is the test done?

During the serum ferritin test, a doctor or a nurse will insert a clean needle into the vein in your arm and pump out a sample of blood. Then that blood sample is stored and then sent to a pathology lab for further tests and analysis.

The ferritin test includes the following tests:

  • Iron test- to measure and analyze the amount of iron present in your body.
  • Total iron-binding capacity test or TIBC test- to assess the amount of a protein called transferrin in your blood circulation.

If you are only having a ferritin blood test, then you can eat or drink normally as usual. But if you are undertaking other blood tests then you will be advised not to eat or drink anything a couple of hours before the test. It is suggested that you should ask your doctor whether you are allowed to eat anything before the test since it can affect the blood test results.

What do your ferritin blood levels indicate?

The results of your ferritin test are referred to in nanograms per millilitre (ng/mL). Following are normal ranges in ng/mL for ferritin levels in your blood:

  • For adult males, 20-250.
  • For adult females, 10-120.
  • For infants, 200-600.
  • For newborns, 25-200.
  • For children, 7-140.

If your ferritin levels are lower than the normal range, then you are suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia. And if your ferritin levels are higher then you might have one of the following conditions:

  • Cancers- like breast cancer, leukaemia, or lymphoma.
  • Liver disease
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Porphyria

Risks involved in ferritin test

Following are some of the side effects you can experience after a ferritin blood test:

  • Bleeding
  • Lightheadedness
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Slight pain in the arm after the test

External factors that affect your ferritin levels

Intake of antacids can lead to absorption problems in the body and you can experience blood loss in your digestive tract if you introduce anti-inflammatory medicines into your system. Alcohol consumption can highly elevate your ferritin levels. Obesity and inflammation in the body due to external factors can also affect ferritin levels in your body.

Fibre and green tea can help lower the ferritin levels. If you have high levels of ferritin, then having a balanced diet with low iron can help.

Final Overview

To sum it up, ferritin levels should be maintained in your body. Both high and low levels of ferritin can lead to different conditions which are not healthy for your body. SO if you are facing similar symptoms then you should seek medical advice and ask your doctor for a ferritin blood test.

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