Ferritin and Iron
About the Tests
Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia — a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. As the name implies, iron deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron. Without enough iron, your body can't produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen (hemoglobin). As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired and short of breath.
Ferritin test (Serum ferritin)
Ferritin is a protein in the form of iron that is mainly stored in the body.
It is absorbed from food and then transported by transferrin - a special protein that is formed in the liver. Iron is necessary for the formation of erythrocytes and is the most important part of hemoglobin — a protein that fills red blood cells and allows them to carry oxygen from the lungs to organs and tissues.
Iron is needed in small quantities to help form normal red blood cells (RBCs). Iron is a critical part of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood travels to other body parts. Low iron levels can lead to anaemia and the production of small red blood cells (microcytic) and pale (hypochromic)
Iron tests evaluate the amount of iron in the body by measuring several substances in the blood.
Purpose of a ferritin and iron test
Ferritin is most often requested when a doctor thinks a patient has too little iron in their system. Low iron levels can lead to anemia and the production of red blood cells that are small (microcytic) and pale (hypochromic). If these typical changes are seen on a “full blood count,” then ferritin can be measured to confirm a diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia.
The iron indicator most accurately characterizes iron metabolism. To determine if anemia is caused by iron deficiency or other causes, such as chronic illness or vitamin B12 deficiency. The transferrin and iron tests are often requested simultaneously. The results are considered to help diagnose and/or monitor iron deficiency or iron overload.
The tests may also be requested when your doctor suspects you have too much iron stored in your body. Iron overload occurs in hereditary hemochromatosis (a genetic disorder that causes too much iron to be absorbed from the diet). Still, it can also occur due to repeat blood transfusions and in alcoholics with liver disease.