By menhc February 1, 2024 0 Comments

Ferritin Test

A ferritin test analyzes the quantity of ferritin in your blood, which is a protein that stores iron within your cells. This test assists healthcare experts in determining whether your body contains an adequate amount of iron.

What is the ferritin test?

A ferritin test is a blood test that determines the amount of ferritin, a protein that stores iron within your cells.

Your body requires iron to produce healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is also required for proper muscle, bone marrow, and organ function. Your body stores excess iron in ferritin for future use, which is often concentrated in your liver and immune system cells.


When your body uses iron, cells release a small amount of ferritin into the bloodstream. As a result, your ferritin level indicates the quantity of iron stored in your body.


Why would a physician order a ferritin test?

A ferritin test determines if your body contains a healthy level of iron. Healthcare professionals routinely order ferritin tests for both screening and diagnostic purposes.


If your doctor suspects that your iron levels are abnormal, he or she may conduct a ferritin test. Too little or too much iron in your blood can create health issues, resulting in symptoms.


A ferritin test may also be required if you have restless legs syndrome or liver disease, or if a full blood count (CBC) shows that your hemoglobin or hematocrit levels are low.


Providers use ferritin assays in conjunction with other blood tests to check for iron deficiency before symptoms appear. This is usually only for patients who are at high risk of iron deficiency, such as:


  • People who are underweight.
  • People born female (AFAB) who have significant menstrual bleeding.
  • Individuals who are pregnant.
  • People with inflammatory bowel disease or who have undergone certain gastrointestinal (GI) surgical operations may have difficulty absorbing food.
  • Symptoms of low ferritin and iron

Iron-deficiency anemia is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • The skin appears paler than usual.
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • A fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Symptoms of elevated ferritin and iron

Symptoms of excessive ferritin and iron (hemochromatosis or iron overload) include:

  • Painful joints
  • Heart problems
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Loss of body hair
  • Lack of sexual drive
  • Fatigue or lack of energy

Test Details:

Who performs ferritin tests?

Blood draws are often performed by a phlebotomist; however, any healthcare worker who has been educated in this procedure can do so. The samples are submitted to a lab, where a medical laboratory scientist prepares them and tests them using instruments known as analyzers.


How should I prepare for the ferritin test?

Your healthcare physician may instruct you to fast (not eat or drink anything other than water) for 12 hours before your test. If you have any questions about how to prepare, speak with your provider.


What can I expect during my ferritin test?

During a blood test or blood draw, you can expect the following to happen:

You will sit in a chair while a healthcare provider examines your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is normally located in the inner half of your arm, on the opposite side of your elbow.
Once a vein has been found, the region will be cleaned and disinfected.
They will then inject a tiny needle into your vein to collect a blood sample. This may feel like a slight pinch.

After inserting the needle, a small amount of blood will be collected in a test tube.
Once they have collected enough blood to test, they will remove the needle and apply a cotton ball or gauze to stop the bleeding.

They will apply a bandage to the site, and you will be completed.
The complete treatment normally lasts less than five minutes.

What may I expect following my ferritin test?

Once a healthcare provider has collected your blood sample, it will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Your healthcare professional will notify you when the test results are available.


What are the dangers associated with a ferritin test?

Blood tests are an extremely prevalent and necessary component of medical testing and screening. There is relatively minimal risk associated with getting blood tests. You may experience some discomfort or bruising at the location of the blood draw, although this is normally resolved shortly.


Results and follow-up

When should I get the results of my ferritin test?

In most circumstances, you should receive your ferritin test results within one or two days, but it may take longer.


What kind of results do you obtain from a ferritin test?

Blood test reports, particularly ferritin blood test results, often include the following information:

  • The name of the blood test or what was detected in your blood.
  • The number or measurement of your blood test results.
  • The typical measurement range for that test (also known as a reference range).
  • Information indicating whether your results are normal, abnormal, high, or low.


What are typical ferritin levels?

The standard values for normal ferritin levels may differ between laboratories. When you receive your blood test results, there will be information on the lab’s normal ferritin range.


In general, normal ferritin levels range from:


  • For females allocated at birth: 14.7 to 205.1 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
  • For males allocated at birth: 30.3 to 565.7 ng/mL.
  • If you have any questions regarding your results, see your healthcare provider.

What does a high ferritin level indicate?

Ferritin test results may be elevated due to hemochromatosis (iron overload), a disorder in which the body retains an excessive amount of iron.


However, a variety of medical conditions can result in elevated ferritin levels. Ferritin is an essential marker of inflammation in the body; therefore, ferritin levels may be elevated whenever you have an inflammatory illness, such as an underlying infection.


Other disorders or events that induce high ferritin are:

  • Alcohol use disorder.
  • Chronic illnesses include autoimmune disorders and diabetes.
  • Cancer, including blood malignancies (leukemia and lymphoma).
  • Obesity.
  • Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).
  • Adult-onset Still’s illness.
  • Liver illness, especially cirrhosis.
  • Damage to the spleen, bone marrow, or liver.

What does a low ferritin level indicate?

If your ferritin test result is lower than normal, it could indicate:

Iron deficiency anemia means that your body does not have enough red blood cells. This is the most likely explanation for the low ferritin level result.
Blood loss (often from the gastrointestinal tract).
Your body fails to absorb iron from your diet properly.
If you have a low ferritin level, your doctor will most likely request additional blood tests and compare the results to evaluate the severity of your iron deficiency anemia. These tests include:

  • Serum iron.
  • Total iron binding capacity (TIBC).
  • Transferrin saturation.

Should I be concerned if my ferritin levels are abnormal?

If your ferritin test results show that you have high or low ferritin levels, this does not necessarily imply that you have a medical ailment. Other factors, such as food and inflammatory health conditions, also influence ferritin levels. The test could potentially have been collected, transported, or processed incorrectly.


If you have an abnormal result, your healthcare professional will discuss it with you. They may conduct additional tests to discover the source of your elevated ferritin levels.


When should I call my doctor?

If you have symptoms of low or high iron and ferritin levels, consult your doctor as soon as possible.


A message from Skylab Clinical Laboratory.

Seeing an unusual test result can be stressful. Know that having a high or low ferritin level does not necessarily indicate that you have a medical condition that requires treatment. Approximately one in every twenty healthy adults will have findings that fall outside of the usual range. Your doctor will tell you if you need to have additional testing to determine the source of the abnormal level. The good news is that most illnesses resulting in insufficient or excessive iron levels in your body can be successfully addressed with drugs, dietary changes, and/or other therapies. Don’t hesitate to ask your physician questions. They are there to help you.


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