What is a Ferritin Blood Test?
Our body needs iron to transmit oxygen to its cells. This need is filled by the red blood cells of the blood. Lacking enough iron, red blood cells will be incapable of supplying sufficient oxygen. However, too much of iron isn’t fine for the body either. Both high and low levels of iron might point out to a serious underlying problem.
If your medical practitioner suspects that you are experiencing an iron deficiency or an iron surplus, they might order a ferritin blood test or an anemia test online. This measures the quantity of stored iron in your body, which can give your medical practitioner an overall depiction of your iron levels.
What Is Ferritin?
Ferritin is not the same thing as iron in your body. Instead, ferritin is a kind of protein that stores iron, releasing it when your body requires it. Ferritin generally lives in your body’s cells, with very tiny quantities of it actually circulating in your blood. According to the Mayo Medical Laboratories, ferritin has about 20 percent iron. The maximum concentrations of ferritin are usually in the cells of the liver (known as hepatocytes) and immune system (known as reticuloendothelial cells).
Ferritin is contained in the body’s cells till it’s time to make additional red blood cells. The body will indicate the cells to discharge ferritin. The ferritin then binds to another material called transferrin.
Transferrin is a protein that mixes with ferritin to carry it to where new red blood cells are made. Visualize transferrin as a dedicated cab for iron. This again can be found out by taking an anemia test online.
While it is crucial for a human being to have normal iron levels, having enough stored iron is important too. If a person does not have adequate ferritin, iron content can drain quickly.
Function of a Ferritin Blood Test
If one does not have adequate ferritin in their blood or you have too much, it can give the medical specialist clues about iron levels in general. The more ferritin in the blood, the more stored iron the body has.
Low Ferritin Levels
Your doctor might order a ferritin blood test along with an anemia test online, if you have some of the following symptoms related with low ferritin levels:
- Mysterious fatigue
- Persistent headaches
- Inexplicable weakness
- Ringing in your ears
- Pain in your legs
- Shortness of breath
- High Levels of Ferritin
One can also have very high ferritin levels, which can cause nasty signs as well. Symptoms of excess ferritin include:
- Stomach pain
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Unexplained tiredness
- Pain in joints
- Unexplained fatigue
Ferritin levels can also enlarge as a result of injury to your organs, such as the liver and spleen. The test can also be used to observe your overall health, mainly if you have any iron-related disorder that causes you to have too much or too little iron in your blood.
How Is Ferritin Tested?
The ferritin blood test needs only a small quantity of blood to analyse your ferritin levels precisely. In some cases, your doctor might ask you not to eat for at least 12 hours prior to your blood test. According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), the test is most accurate when it’s conducted in the morning after you have not eaten in a while.
A lab professional may apply an elastic band around your arm to make your veins more visible. After cleaning your skin with an antiseptic swab, the provider will insert a small syringe into your blood to draw a sample. This sample will then be sent for further analysis. You need not have to take any special precautions before undergoing the blood test.
Understanding Your Ferritin Blood Test Results
Your blood ferritin blood test results are first examined to see if your levels are within the stipulated normal ranges. According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), the typical ranges are:
- 24 to 336 ng per ml in men
- 11 to 307 ng per ml in women
Note that not all labs have the same results for blood ferritin levels in the blood. These are model ranges, but different labs might have different values. Always ask your medical practitioner for the particular lab’s model range while determining if your blood ferritin levels are normal, high, or low.
Ferritin Deficiency Causes
A level lower-than-normal ferritin level can indicate that you have an iron insufficiency, which could happen when one does not intake adequate iron in their daily diet which can be figured out by taking an anemia test online.
Another circumstance that affects iron levels is anemia, that is when one does not have sufficient red blood cells for iron to link to. The best way is to opt for an anemia test online.
Further conditions include:
- Extreme loss of blood during menstruation in women
- Stomach conditions that affect intestinal absorption of food
- Internal blood loss
Knowledge about your ferritin levels are normal or low may help your medical consultant better determine the cause for it. For example, a person suffering from anemia will have low blood iron levels and low ferritin levels. However, a person with any chronic disease might have low blood iron levels, but normal or high blood ferritin levels. Doctors suggest that one takes up an anemia test online and get to know the amount of ferretin in their body
Causes of High Blood Ferritin Levels
Blood ferritin levels that are too high can point towards certain conditions. One example is hemochromatosis, which is when your body sucks in too much iron. Other conditions that are causes for high iron levels include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Liver disease
- Adult still’s disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Iron poisoning
- Frequent blood transfusions
The safest way to confirm them are by taking an anemia test online.
Ferritin is what’s well-known as an acute phase reactant. This implies that when the body experiences swelling, blood ferritin levels will shoot up. That is why blood ferritin levels can be high in people who have any liver disease or any types of cancer, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For example, liver cells store ferritin. When a person’s liver is damaged or injured, the ferritin inside the cells begins to ooze out. A medical consultant will expect higher ferritin levels than normal in patients with these conditions and other inflammatory conditions which can be found out by taking an anemia test online.
According to an article in journal of the annual American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), the most common causes of high ferritin levels are obesity, swelling, and regular alcohol intake, continued smoking over a long period of time. The most frequent causes of genetic-related elevated ferritin levels is a condition known as hemochromatosis.
If your ferritin test results are high, your doctor will order other tests that can provide more light into the iron levels in your body. These tests include:
- a blood iron test, which measures the quantity of iron circulating in your body
- a total iron binding capacity (TIBC) test, which estimates the total amount of transferrin in one’s body
Side Effects of a Ferritin Blood Test and Anemia test online
A ferritin blood test is not connected with serious side effects because it requires drawing a small blood sample and before this, one needs to know the ferritin test range. Talk to your donor, however, if you have a bleeding wound or bruise easily. You might expect some discomfort as your blood is drawn. After the test, rare side effects include:
- Excessive blood loss
- Feeling faint or light-headed
Always let your medical provider know if you experience discomfort that seems out of the norm.
Facts about Ferritin
Ferritin releases a part of its stored iron when blood levels get low, thereby managing a stable supply of iron. This closes the gap on days when your diet doesn’t deliver ample iron, but if your consumption is always low, or you have a medical condition that decreases iron level more iron than normal, your ferritin normal value will go down and you’ll be at risk for iron deficiency or anemia or chronic kidney disease. The key to increasing ferritin is to get an ample amount of iron on a regular basis. Men may need 8 mg of iron every day. Women need 18 milligrams daily until they reach menopause, when their RDA drops to 8 milligrams.
Go With Lean Meat
Foods include two types of iron – heme and nonheme. When you want to boost ferritin rapidly, the best choice is heme iron found in meat, chicken and fish because your body absorbs two to three times more heme iron than nonheme. One of the best sources of iron are sheep liver, oysters and giblets, but they are not generally found on the daily menu, and liver should be eaten with great control because it is high in cholesterol.
The next best choice is reduceconsumption of red meat. You’ll get 2 to 3 milligrams of iron in a 3-ounce serving of various cuts of beef. The same amount of pork chops, chicken wings, shrimp, canned tuna or canned salmon has about 1 mg of iron.
Dr Lal PathLabs offers ferretin tests at a competitive price of INR 690/- per test. One can also have the test sample collected from home, to avail this facility, download the Dr Lal PathLabs App on your smartphone and book a test for yourself or your loved ones. There is no preparation required for this test.
Also, one can book an anemia test online on the Dr Lal PathLabs App and get samples collected from your doorstep.