Ferritin test

A ferritin test measures the amount of ferritin in your blood. Ferritin is a blood cell protein that contains iron. A ferritin test helps your doctor understand how much iron your body is storing.

If a ferritin test reveals that your blood ferritin level is lower than normal, it indicates your body's iron stores are low and you have iron deficiency.

If a ferritin test shows higher than normal levels, it could indicate that you have a condition that causes your body to store too much iron. It could also point to liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory conditions or hyperthyroidism. Some types of cancer also may cause your blood ferritin level to be high.


Why it's done How you prepare What you can expect Results

You may have a ferritin test for several reasons:

  • To diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor may suggest a ferritin test if other blood tests have shown that the level of oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells (hemoglobin) is low, or if the proportion of red blood cells to the fluid component in your blood (hematocrit) is low. These may indicate that you have iron deficiency anemia. A ferritin test can help confirm that diagnosis. Ferritin may also be measured in someone with restless legs syndrome.

    A ferritin test may also be used to help diagnose conditions such as hemochromatosis, liver disease and adult Still's disease, among others.

    When used to diagnose a medical condition, a ferritin test may be done in conjunction with an iron test and a total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) and transferrin test. These tests provide additional information about how much iron is in your body.

  • To monitor a medical condition. If you've been diagnosed with a disorder that results in too much iron in your body, such as hemochromatosis or hemosiderosis, your doctor may use a ferritin test to monitor your condition and guide treatment.
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