What is a ferritin blood test?
A ferritin blood test determines the concentration of ferritin in the blood. Ferritin is a protein which is found in the cells that store iron. Iron is required for the production of healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the various parts of the body. Iron is also necessary for healthy muscles, bone marrow, and organs, including infant brain development.
Having too little iron or too much iron in the body can lead to major health concerns. A ferritin blood test can reveal how much iron your body has stored.
Other names: Other names for this test are serum ferritin, serum ferritin level, and ferritin serum.
What is the use of the Ferritin Blood Test?
A ferritin blood test can help you determine your iron levels. It can help your doctor determine if your body is storing enough iron to keep you healthy.
The ferritin blood test can also be used to:
- Assist in the diagnosis of iron-related disorders such as:
- Hemochromatosis: It is characterized by an excess of iron in the body (also called iron overload).
- Iron deficiency anemia: It is defined as having too low red blood cells due to a lack of iron.
- Liver disease: Diseases of the liver.
- Restless legs syndrome It is characterized by tingling or burning sensations in the legs that may be caused by a shortage of iron.
- Adult Still disease (also known as adult-onset Still disease or AOSD): It is a rare condition that produces joint discomfort,fever,rash, and elevated ferritin levels.
- Monitor chronic (long-term) disorders that may alter your iron levels, such as cancer, renal disease, and autoimmune diseases.
If treatment for iron deficiency is going on, this test may be performed to determine how effectively the treatment is working.
What is the need for a ferritin blood test?
This test may be required if you exhibit symptoms of iron deficiency or excess of it.
Too little iron causes the following symptoms:
Too much iron can cause various symptoms, which tend to worsen with time. Symptoms include:
You may also require this test if other blood tests reveal that you have low hematocrit or hemoglobin levels.
What happens during a ferritin blood test?
A tiny needle will be inserted by a healthcare expert in order to draw blood from a vein in your arm. Following the insertion of the needle, a little quantity of blood will be collected in a test tube. One may feel a slight sting when the needle goes in or out. This normally takes five minutes.
How to prepare for the test?
Your doctor may instruct you to fast or not eat and drink anything for 12 hours before your test. The exam is often administered in the morning. If you have concerns about preparing for your test, speak with your doctor.
Is there any risk in the test?
Having a blood test poses no risk or danger. You may experience some discomfort or bruising where the needle was inserted, but it vanishes soon.
What do the findings imply?
Low ferritin levels may indicate iron deficiency anemia or another illness related to low iron levels. A common kind of anemia is iron deficiency anemia, which occurs when your body does not produce enough red blood cells. It can cause heart difficulties, infections, delayed growth and cognitive development in children, and other health concerns if not treated.
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 ferritin levels are abnormal, it may not always indicate that you have a medical issue that requires treatment. Certain medications can either lower or raise your ferritin levels. If you have any concerns about your results, speak with your doctor.
Important information to know about a ferritin blood test?
Most iron deficiency diseases can be effectively addressed with medications, nutrition, and other therapy.