Why is this test important? Ferritin is a blood cell protein that acts as your body's storehouse for iron. Many patients who suffer from hypothyroidism (underproduction of thyroid hormones) also may have low ferritin levels, which signal that the body has an iron deficiency. However, this test also screens for abnormally high ferritin levels, which can lead to several serious medical conditions.
What does the test include?
Who should be tested? Strongly consider testing if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or are experiencing symptoms such as:
Other conditions that may suggest low ferritin levels include anemia, which is characterized by:
If you have children exhibiting these conditions, strongly consider testing, since anemia can cause developmental delays and behavioral problems. To check for iron overload, consider testing if you experience joint pain, fatigue or lack of energy, abdominal pain, loss of sex drive or heart problems. High ferritin levels have been linked to patients with hemochromatosis, a hereditary disorder that can lead to arthritis, liver disease, congestive heart failure, impotence or damage to the pancreas. Bear in mind that some patients never exhibit symptoms from iron overload.
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