Ferritin Test

1 What is a Ferritin Test?

Measuring the amount of ferritin – a blood cell protein that contains iron – in your blood is the main purpose of a ferritin test. This will help in checking how much your body is storing iron.

Your body’s iron stores are low and you have an iron deficiency if a ferritin test reveals that your blood ferritin level is lower than normal.

This could also indicate that you have a condition that caused your body to store too much iron if the test shows higher than normal levels.

This can also check if you have rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, hyperthyroidism or other inflammatory conditions. Your blood ferritin level may also be high because of some types of cancer.

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2 Reasons for Procedure

Several reasons for ferritin test include diagnose a medical condition – if the proportion of red blood cells to the fluid component in your blood or hematocrit is low and if your hemoglobin or oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells are low because these may indicate that you have iron-deficiency anemia and may even check if you have restless legs syndrome.

This test can also help in diagnosing liver diseases, hemochromatosis, and adult Still’s disease. This test may be done in conjunction with transferring test, iron test and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), to monitor a medical condition – such as hemosiderosis or hemochromatosis.

3 Potential Risks

There is very small chance of potential risks that you can encounter having a blood sample taken to form a vein such as:

  • you may get a bruise on the area where the needle is inserted
  • the vein may become swollen but this is very rare (phlebitis), you may put warm compress in the affected area
  • ongoing bleeding for people with bleeding disorders

4 Preparing for your Procedure

You can eat and drink in preparing for the test if your blood sample is being tested only for ferritin but if your blood sample will be used for additional tests you have to ask your doctor if you need to fast for a certain amount of time or if there are restrictions before the test.

5 What to Expect

Here you can find out what to expect from your ferritin test.

This procedure is done by inserting a needle into the vein in your arm to take a sample of your blood by one of the members of your health care team.

The blood will then be sent to the lab for analysis and you can return to your normal activities afterwards.

6 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of your ferritin test will be made possible by your doctor.

The normal range for blood ferritin is:

  • for women – 11 to 307 nanograms per milliliter (standard units) or 11 to 307 micrograms per liter (international units)
  • for men – 24 to 336 nanograms per milliliter (standard units) or 24 to 336 micrograms per liter (international units)

You have an iron deficiency if you have lower than normal ferritin level or you may also be anemic.

Higher than normal ferritin level can be caused by:

Consult your doctor regarding the results of your ferritin test.