Ferritin is an acute-phase protein, which means that its levels increase in people with inflammatory diseases, liver diseases, chronic infections, autoimmune diseases and certain cancers, and in people with alcohol abuse.

What is the need for a study?

The test is designed to assess how much iron is stored in the body. When used in conjunction with iron content and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) tests, the severity of iron deficiency or excess can be assessed.

When should I be tested?

A ferritin test should be performed when iron deficiency is suspected:
1. if the CBC (complete blood count) shows a low haemoglobin concentration and a low haematocrit, especially if the CBC parameters show that the erythrocytes (red blood cells) are smaller and contain less haemoglobin than normal;
2. if you have signs of iron deficiency anaemia, such as chronic tiredness, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and headaches. You should be worried if you experience symptoms of severe iron deficiency, such as shortness of breath, tinnitus, drowsiness and irritability;
3. if children have cognitive impairment, they may struggle at school;
4. if you have a distorted craving to eat unusual substances (liquorice root, chalk, clay, earth);
5. if there are cracks at the corners of the mouth, spoon-shaped indentations on finger and toe nails, a burning sensation on the tongue, or a feeling that the tongue is flattened.
A ferritin test should be carried out if you suspect excess iron accumulation (haemochromatosis) in the body, especially if you experience symptoms such as:
1. joint pain;
2. fatigue, weakness, lack of energy;
3. stomach pain;
4. loss of libido;
5. heart problems.

What sample is needed for the test?

Blood is drawn from a vein in the arm.

How to prepare for the survey?

You should abstain from eating for 9-12 hours before the sample is taken. You can only drink water.

What do my results mean?

Ferritin concentrations are reduced in cases of prolonged iron deficiency, increased in haemochromatosis and other disorders associated with excess iron accumulation in the body, as well as in people undergoing repeated blood transfusion therapy. Ferritin is an acute-phase protein, which means that its levels increase in people with inflammatory diseases, liver disease, chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, certain cancers and alcohol abuse. However, ferritin is not used to diagnose or monitor treatment for these conditions.

Related studies

Iron, total iron binding capacity (TIBC), iron free binding capacity (UIBC), iron (transferrin) saturation, BKT (complete blood count)

Related conditions/diseases.

Anaemia, Iron deficiency anaemia, haemochromatosis.

You can consult our family doctors.


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