This page helps you to understand blood test results for Ferritin and gives you the reference range to determine if your lab test results mean that you have high, low or normal Ferritin levels.
We outline the risk factors associated with both raised and lower Ferritin levels.
Reference Ranges for Ferritin in men (please sign up to see ranges for women):
|US Conventional Units||mcg /L or ng/ml or ug/L||23-400||<23 or>400|
|Standard International Units||mcg /L or ng/ml or ug/L||23-400||<23 or >400|
What is Ferritin
Ferritin is a blood cell protein that contains iron. A ferritin test is an indicator of how much iron your body is storing . In healthy people, about 70% of the iron absorbed by the body is incorporated into the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Most of the remaining 30% is stored as ferritin or as hemosiderin, a complex of iron, proteins, and other materials. Ferritin and hemosiderin are present primarily in the liver but also in the bone marrow, spleen, and skeletal muscles .
Function of Ferritin
Most people are able to maintain appropriate levels of available iron in the body even if their iron consumption does not always exactly match the body’s iron loss. Ferritin is the key to this important control of the amount of iron available to the body. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron and releases it in a controlled fashion. Hence, the body has a “buffer” against iron deficiency (if the blood has too little iron, ferritin can release more) and, to a lesser extent, iron overload (if the blood and tissues of the body have too much iron, ferritin can help to store the excess iron) .
Risk factors associated with Ferritin
If a ferritin test reveals that your blood ferritin level is lower than normal, it indicates your body’s iron stores are low and you have iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anemia in the world.
If a ferritin test shows higher than normal levels, it could indicate that you have a hereditary condition which causes your body to store too much iron . However it is important to remember that elevated ferritin does not equal iron overload and there are many patients with elevated ferritin caused by inflammation . High ferritin can also be a marker for liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis or hyperthyroidism .
Notable variations by demographic group
Normal ferritin concentrations vary by age and sex. Concentrations are high at birth, rise during the first two months of life, and then fall throughout later infancy. At about one year of age, concentrations begin to rise again and continue to increase into adulthood. Beginning in adolescence, however, males have higher values than females, a trend that persists into late adulthood. Values among men peak between 30–39 years of age and then tend to remain constant until about 70 years of age. Among women, serum ferritin values remain relatively low until menopause and then rise .