Iron is a critical mineral that plays a fundamental role in the production of hemoglobin, a protein that is a part of the red blood cells and is responsible for the red color of blood. And hemoglobin is accountable for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Unfortunately, the human body cannot manufacture iron and thus must obtain it from diet or supplements.
The Ferritin Blood Test is a commonly used diagnostic tool in clinical practice to assess ferritin levels, a protein that stores iron in the blood. This test is invaluable for diagnosing and monitoring conditions related to iron levels. In addition, it provides essential information about a patient's iron status, enabling doctors to tailor appropriate interventions to optimize their health.
Suppose you are experiencing symptoms of an iron-related condition or have a family history. In that case, it is advisable to consult with your doctor and connect to the best diagnostic center for Ferritin Blood Test as a vital component of your diagnostic workup.
What Is Serum Ferritin?
About 70% of the body’s iron can be found in hemoglobin, while about 5% forms a component of specific proteins. In addition, 25% of the body’s iron is accumulated as ferritin, a protein in the body that works as crucial in storing and releasing iron as needed by the body. For example, iron is essential for producing red blood cells and transporting oxygen, and ferritin is required in small amounts to facilitate these processes.
As Our bodies cannot produce iron naturally. Iron from our diet primarily makes hemoglobin in red blood cells, with a small amount stored as serum ferritin. Iron is also involved in producing proteins like myoglobin and certain enzymes.
Ferritin is produced by the liver and is stored in cells throughout the body, including in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and muscle tissue. Suppose the body's ferritin levels are depleted. In that case, it can lead to anemia, an iron deficiency.
What Is A Ferritin Blood Test?
It is used to determine the ferritin level in the blood. This serum ferritin blood test is highly useful in finding any changes in the iron level in the human body. One can find out if one has a low or high ferritin level in the blood from ferritin test results. An abnormal ferritin level in the body indicates an underlying health condition in a person. If a person exhibits any signs of iron deficiency, the doctor will order a ferritin test and other tests such as total iron-binding capacity, CBC, and Anemia.
What Is the Purpose of the Ferritin Blood Test?
A ferritin blood test can help you determine your iron levels. In addition, it can help your doctor determine if your body is storing enough iron to keep you healthy. The exam can also be used to:
Assist in the diagnosis or exclusion of iron-related disorders such as:
- Hemochromatosis (also called iron overload) is characterized by an excess of iron in the body
- Anemia (Iron deficiency) is having too few red blood cells due to a shortage of iron.
- Liver Diseases
- Restless legs syndrome is characterized by tingling or burning sensations in the legs that a shortage of iron may cause.
- Adult Still disease (also known as Adult-Onset Still disease (AOSD)) is a rare disease that produces joint discomfort, fever, rash, and elevated ferritin levels.
- Chronic disorders that may alter your iron levels, such as cancer, kidney disease, and autoimmune diseases, should be monitored.
If you are being treated for iron deficiency, the ferritin level blood test may be performed to determine how effectively the treatment works.
The ferritin test is also often used as a screening tool to detect low iron levels in people who have high-risk factors of developing an iron deficiency. These risk factors include:
- Being underweight
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Food absorption issues
- Conditions like inflammatory bowel disease
- Having undergone specific gastrointestinal surgical procedures
What Are the Symptoms in patients with abnormal blood ferritin levels?
Another reason the ferritin test may be prescribed to a person is if they display symptoms of an iron deficiency or surplus.
Common symptoms of low ferritin levels include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Leg pain
Causes of ferritin blood test levels include excessive blood loss, Anemia, medical conditions of the stomach that affect intestinal absorption, etc., and if left unchecked, can lead to heart failure.
Common symptoms of high ferritin levels include:
- Cardiovascular issues
- Joint pain
- Reduced libido
- Loss of body hair
- Stomach aches
- Unexplained weight loss
- Lack of energy
What Happens During a Ferritin Blood Test?
A healthcare expert will use a tiny needle to take blood from a vein in your arm. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected in a test tube or vial. You may feel a slight sting when the needle goes in or out.
How Do I Prepare for the Ferritin Blood Test?
Your doctor may instruct you to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours before your test. The exam is often administered in the morning. If you have any queries or doubts about how to prepare for your exam, speak with your doctor.
What Do the Results Mean?
Ferritin is an acute-phase reactant protein, meaning its levels rise whenever the body is inflamed. As a result, it is always advised to see a doctor with their test findings. The ferritin blood test normal ranges are as below:
- Ferritin levels in men should be between 30 and 400 ng/mL
- Ferritin levels in women should be between 13 and 150 ng/mL
What Does a Low Ferritin Level Mean?
If you have a lower-than-normal ferritin result, it may suggest:
- Iron deficiency (Anemia) means your body has inadequate red blood cells.
- Blood loss (usually from the gastrointestinal tract).
- Your body does not absorb iron from your food intake properly.
If not treated, it can cause heart difficulties, infections, delayed growth and cognitive development in children, and other health concerns.
If your ferritin blood test is low, then your doctor will order additional blood tests to determine the extent of iron deficiency anemia. These tests include:
- Serum iron
- Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC)
- Transferrin saturation
What Does a High Ferritin Level Mean?
Higher-than-normal ferritin levels may indicate an excess of iron in your body. Among the conditions that generate elevated iron levels are:
- Liver disease
- Alcohol use disorder
If your high ferritin blood test results are abnormal, it may not always indicate that you have a medical issue that requires treatment. Some medications can either lower or raise your ferritin levels. If you have any concerns about your results, speak with your doctor.
What Is Ferritin Blood Test Cost?
The ferritin blood test cost in India can vary depending on the location and the healthcare provider. However, on average, the cost can range from INR 500 to INR 2,000.
You also opt for the home sample collection, where an expert will come to your home to collect your blood samples, and you can get your ferritin blood test online. Connect to the top diagnostic center to book your home sample collection now.
It might be distressing to receive an abnormal test result. Understand that high or low ferritin levels do not necessarily indicate a medical condition requiring treatment. Around one in every twenty healthy adults will have findings outside the usual range. Your healthcare professional will inform you if additional tests are necessary to discover the reason for the abnormal level. The good news is that most illnesses that cause your body to have too little or too much iron can be successfully addressed with drugs, dietary modifications, and other therapies.