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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Understanding The Ferritin Test: What It Is And How To Take It

Ferritin is a protein found in cells of the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and skeletal muscles. This protein helps doctors assess conditions concerning iron levels. 

These conditions are manifested through chronic headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue in day-to-day activities, ringing in your ears, and dizziness. Some other conditions which might require testing your ferritin levels are joint pain, heart palpitations, and stomach pain.

The ferritin protein stores iron. Therefore, the ferritin level indicates iron concentration in the body. Thus, the protein level can be used to diagnose iron-related disorders. 

Ferritin protein, holding the reserves of iron, provides the body with a supply of iron. This iron is required by Red Blood Cells to transport oxygen to various parts of the body, which eventually helps in the generation of the energy currency of the cell via respiration, muscle development, brain functioning, etc.

Iron also serves as an enzymatic co-factor, catalyzing important metabolic reactions of the body like converting DNA sugars into usable compounds. Iron storage in ferritin protein prevents cell membranes and cellular components from unwanted chemical reactions and toxicity. 

What is needed to check ferritin levels?

The sample collector will inject the needle into the vein for blood collection. The minimal amount of blood required for the test will be drawn. Upon removal, cotton with antiseptic will be placed at the site of injection.

Wherever you are getting checked, make sure to see the needle being used is new and unused. Using used needles may result in infections and lethal diseases.

How is the quantitative analysis of ferritin protein performed?

A ferritin test examines the blood sample. The detectable ferritin-specific antibody is allowed to interact and bind with ferritin. The complex interacts with another substance with magnetic properties. These help in adhering the ferritin to electrodes, further helping in separation from non-ferritin compounds in blood. The ferritin levels are then read via an analyzer.

What can you expect from the result?

The amount of ferritin protein varies among males and females. The normal range for males is 24-336 micrograms/liter, while the normal range for females is 11-307 micrograms/liter. 

Diagnosis

Healthcare professionals can make an accurate diagnosis. However, the low and high ferritin levels in the body can indicate several conditions like –

  • Ferritin levels of less than 24 micrograms in males and less than 11 micrograms in females indicate anemia. Doctors term the condition hypoferritinemia.
  • Ferritin levels greater than 33 micrograms in males and greater than 307 grams in females indicate hemochromatosis, porphyria, hemosiderosis, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, etc. This condition is referred to as hyperferritinemia.

What is the Cost of testing ferritin levels?

The cost of testing varies among different cities. The range varies from INR 500 to INR 1000, based on the city of residence. 

Conclusion

Doctors recommend a ferritin test for diagnosing medical conditions related to iron levels. Ferritin protein stores iron and provides it to the body. Thus, ferritin concentration directly indicates iron concentration in the body. This simple blood test can help detect protein levels and help doctors make an accurate diagnosis.

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Jack henry
Jack henry
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