What is a Ferritin Test? Things you should know

What is a Ferritin Test? Things you should know

Ferritin is a type of protein constituent that stores iron in your body. Generally, ferritin is found in the body’s cells, and a minimal quantity of it circulates in our bodies, and it releases iron in the body whenever required. Usually, a higher concentration of Ferritin substance is found in the liver cells, known as hepatocytes, and in the immune system. 

Ferritin remains stored in our body cells until it needs to generate extra blood cells. It is only then; the body signals the cells to release ferritin. The ferritin then mixes with another component which is transferrin.

Transferrin is a carrier protein component that admixes ferritin to discharge it to the point where new blood cells are formed. To simply put, transferrin is a carrier of iron, and the Ferritin test shows the iron store of your body. 

Although having an adequate iron level is pertinent for any human being, having enough iron stored in cells is also necessary. If a good iron level is not stored in cells, the iron component can drain much quickly.

What is the Ferritin Test?

A Ferritin test is simply a blood test conducted to check the levels of ferritin in the body. As we learned already, ferritin is an intracellular protein that acts as a warehouse of iron and disburses the iron contents whenever and wherever needed. 

Therefore, a Ferritin test lets us know the quantum of iron in the body. Suppose the Ferritin blood test level comes out to be lower than the standard level. In that case, it signifies that the iron in your body is low, and you are probably suffering from iron-deficient anaemia. 

Also Read: Common Disorders Affecting the Heart

On the contrary, if the Ferritin blood test level is found to be higher than the average level, it indicates that you are probably suffering from hemochromatosis, which is a condition whereby a considerable quantity of iron is stored in your body. It also could be a sign of liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and hyperthyroidism.

The buffer stock of iron is beneficial if your body is deficient in iron. Apart from acting as a warehouse of iron, ferritin also helps fight the body’s inflammatory conditions. The remnants of ferritin that don’t mix up with iron are called Apoferritin.

 Why Do You Need to Take a Ferritin Test?

The ferritin blood test is usually prescribed by the healthcare providers in the following circumstances:

● To test for anaemia caused by iron deficiency if the following symptoms are observed: 

⮚ Breathing problems

⮚ Fatigue

⮚ Weakness

⮚ Severe headaches etc.

● To examine the excessive iron produced in the body when symptoms such as weakness, abdomen pain, pain in joints, and weight loss are observed. The higher levels of iron are found in:

⮚ Excessive iron conditions such as hemochromatosis or hemosiderosis

⮚ Medical Inflammatory conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis 

⮚ Liver diseases

⮚ Leukaemia 

⮚ Hyperthyroidism

Anaemia caused by iron deficiency develops at a gradual pace. In case of a lack of iron, the body initially uses the iron stored in the body, which is ferritin, and the Ferritin level in blood starts to drop.

How Should One Prepare for a Ferritin Blood Test?

If you are going for a Serum ferritin test, you can eat and drink as usual before giving the blood sample. On the contrary, you have to do a fast for any other blood sample tests. Therefore, it is recommended that you always check with your healthcare provider or doctor beforehand.

How Does a Serum Ferritin Test be Performed?

It only takes a few minutes to complete the ferritin test. It is to be kept in mind that if the sight of blood makes you queasy or dizzy, then make sure to look somewhere else rather than looking at the syringe.

Initially, the healthcare provider cleans the skin area before Injecting a needle into the vein. The healthcare provider rounds an elastic band on the upper part of the arm to easily spot the vein to draw the blood. Once enough blood is withdrawn, the healthcare provider removes the elastic band, needle and then dab the area with cotton to stop the blood flow. After this, the blood sample collected is transported to the lab to conduct a ferritin test.

Possible After-Effects of Serum Ferritin Test 

The Serum ferritin test is entirely safe like any other blood sample test. However, in some cases, you may experience the following:

● Light-headedness or fainting

● A slight bruise or lump occurring under the skin

● Faint pain when the needle is injected

Concluding Words 

Ferritin is a protein that helps in storing iron in the cells of the body. The ferritin test is an effective way to measure the iron level in the body and then conclude if you’re suffering from iron-deficient anaemia or diseases caused by an excess of iron. 

A lower Serum ferritin test level than an average level indicates a deficiency of iron, whereas a higher ferritin test level signifies that you may be suffering from hemochromatosis. If you’re experiencing any symptoms that can indicate an iron imbalance, we suggest you take a ferritin test today and keep yourself healthy!

Also Read: How to Treat Gallstones Without Surgery

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