Ferritin Serum Test
A ferritin test will help your doctor understand if you have low or high levels of ferritin in your blood. A ferritin blood test is a direct indicator of iron deficiency or an iron overload; both of which could be a problem. So basically, Ferritin is the Iron reserve of your body and optimal levels are required for proper functioning of Red Blood Cells which ultimately carries oxygen to all cells in the body.
If you are having strange cravings for licorice, chalk, dirt, or clay, your doctor may suspect anaemia and may want to check your ferritin levels to understand the cause of anaemia. Ferritin is never ordered individually and is used along with other blood tests like transferrin for identifying the root cause of anaemia.
A ferritin test may be ordered with other blood tests when there is fatigue/tiredness that persists even with enough rest, Weakness, Dizziness, Headaches, Total Blackout, Pale skin, pain in legs, irritable mood, shortness of breath, ringing in ears.
Ferritin is protein found within the cells and contains iron. Ferritin stores iron and releases iron a controlled manner. The test is proposed to check for and measure the iron deposits in the body. The ferritin test is ordered along with other iron tests like transferrin when CBC results shows that haemoglobin is low and when the RBC are smaller and paler than it should be. Iron deficiency leads to several symptoms and a doctor may order ferritin as well as other iron-related tests, when the following symptoms are noted: fatigue/tiredness that persists even with sufficient rest, Weakness, Dizziness, Headaches, Total Blackout, Pale skin. When the iron significantly goes down, the patient may experience shortness of breath, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and irritability. Prolonged and severe anaemia could also lead to chest pain, pain the legs, experience of shock, severe headaches and could in extreme conditions lead to heart failure. Anemic Children could also develop learning disabilities and may have cravings for specific substances, such as chalk, dirt, or clay, a burning sensation in the tongue or an appearance of smooth tongue, sores at the corners of the mouth; all of these are characteristics of anemia. Iron overload occurs over a period of time as Iron tends to get accumulated in cells and tissues. Symptoms of iron overload are pain in the joints, fatigue and feeling of weakness, weight loss, lack of energy, abdominal pain, hair loss etc. Levels of ferritin are used for monitoring of iron levels during pregnancy, dialysis and during iron therapy
Ferritin levels are often evaluated collectively with other test for determining iron deficiency.
A summary of the changes in iron tests seen in various diseases of iron status is shown in the table below.
Disease Iron TIBC/Transferrin Transferrin Saturation Ferritin
Iron Deficiency Low High Low Low
Hemochromatosis High Low High High
Chronic Illness Low Low Low Normal/High
Haemolytic Anemia High Normal/Low High High
Sideroblastic Anemia Normal/High Normal/Low High High
Iron Poisoning High Normal High Normal
Sideroblastic anemia: Impaired ability of bone marrow to produce normal RBCs, leading to reduction in oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
• Increased ferritin: Iron overload as in multiple blood transfusions, hemochromatosis and anaemia of chronic disorders, liver disease, alcoholism, inflammatory conditions, leukaemia, Hodgkins disease and some malignancies.
• Decreased ferritin: Iron deficiency anemia, early stage before iron deficiency manifests as anaemia.
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