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Ferritin - 000117

The serum ferritin test helps to determine the level of a protein called ferritin present in the blood. This protein is what you can call a store of iron in the body. The iron from your diet which is not immediately used to form hemoglobin in your red cells, is stored for later use in the form of ferritin.

The serum ferritin test is an investigation done to determine the level of ferritin in your blood. Ferritin is an iron store, and is an important source of iron for the body, when there is inadequate iron in the diet. The amount of ferritin present in your blood, will give your doctor a clear idea as to the exact condition you might be suffering from.

Your doctor will order a serum ferritin test when they diagnose you have a condition called anemia, which is low levels of hemoglobin present in your red blood cells. Because iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, your doctor will want to determine if the low levels of iron stores in your body is the cause for the low hemoglobin. Some rare conditions such as Still’s disease, Hemochromatosis and Restless Leg Syndrome can also be diagnosed using this test.

If the serum ferritin test is the only one you are undergoing, then no special preparation is needed. If there are other tests, then you might have to speak to your healthcare provider regarding it.

During this, a Medical Lab Technician will draw out a small volume of blood, using a needle and syringe which is inserted into a vein in your arm. This blood sample is then sent to the lab for analysis.

Since this test is a simple drawing of blood, you will not feel a lot of discomfort. You might experience a mild pain on inserting the needle, but you will not experience any uneasiness afterwards.

There is very little risk in undergoing a serum ferritin test, because it is a simple blood drawing. Very rarely you might continue to have a mild pain or some swelling at the site where the needle was inserted, but these symptoms will resolve on their own within a couple of days.

The normal range of serum ferritin in men and women can vary, therefore your target values should be as follows:
• Male: 12 to 300 ng/ml
• Female: 12 to 150 ng/ml

Values lower than this will indicate that you may be having an iron deficiency. Values higher than this indicate you may be having a storage disorder such as hemochromatosis. Always discuss your test results with a doctor if they show abnormal readings.

If you have had any episodes of heavy bleeding in the days following up to the test, such as from heavy menstrual bleeding or an injury, you can end up having lower than normal results. Always make sure you mention any such episodes to your doctor before the test is performed.