Article by Master, Dr Pham Thi Thuy Nhung – Dean and Master, Dr Do Thi Hoang Ha – Laboratory Department – Share99 Hai Phong International Health Hub.
Ferritin testing will help doctors know how much iron the body stores. If the ferritin test shows lower than normal levels of ferritin in the blood, it means low iron reserves of the body. On the contrary, when the ferritin test results are higher than usual, there is a possibility that the patient has iron retention.
1. What are the ferritin test results?
Ferritin is a serum free feritin, iron reserve protein that reflects the concentration of iron reserves and is used as a laboratory index to assess the level of iron reserves in the body. For ferritin dosing tests, a normal healthy person ranges from 20 to 250 ng/ml (for men), females range from 10 to 120 ng/ml.
Ferritin dosing tests will help doctors understand how much iron the body stores. If the ferritin test shows lower than normal levels of ferritin in the blood, it means low iron reserves of the body. On the contrary, when the ferritin test results are higher than usual, there is a possibility that the patient has iron retention.
2. What do high ferritin test results tell?
If ferritin test results are higher than normal, it also means that the body is storing too much iron.
High ferritin testing can also be a sign of a number of diseases such as Thalassemia, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, certain acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, armor, alcohol abuse, type 2 diabetes, repeated blood transfusions without iron discharge or certain cancers (liver) , pancreas, bronchi, nerves, malignant lymphoma, lashes) can also cause high levels of ferritin in the blood.
In addition, high ferritin testing may also be caused by mutations in the HFE gene. The HFE gene has two common mutations, C282Y and H63D. If a person inherits 2 abnormal genes can develop iron excess disease. Mutations in these genes reduce the control of iron absorption during digestion and alter the distribution of iron to parts of the body. However, this is a very rare group of causes in Asians.
3. What to do when ferritin test results are high?
When ferritin test results are above normal, your doctor may order your patient to perform additional tests to help find the basic causes for the best course of treatment.
The treatment of high ferritin levels depends on the basic cause. For hereditary iron (hemochromatosis) can be treated with intravenous blood injections. This is a procedure to remove blood from the body. Initially, the patient is taken about 470ml of blood, taken 1 – 2 times a week. Then, when the patient's iron levels have returned to normal proportions, blood taking is carried out less often, or monthly or without iron infusion anymore. The amount of blood and frequency of removal will vary depending on the age, health and ferritin level of each patient. Patients will need ongoing treatment to maintain normal levels of ferritin in the blood.
People with other causes of high ferritin test results may require additional treatment, such as iron waste for patients who transmit between 10 and 20 units of blood, or thalassemia patients with serum ferritin levels >1000 ng/ml or a combination of medications aimed at preventing conditions such as liver disease, and diabetes.
In summary, when the patient has signs of suspected iron conversion disorder, ferritin dosing tests are required to be able to properly assess the condition and find the cause but the appropriate treatment.
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