Ferritin: when ferritin varies

High or low ferritin may have different causes. These variations can indeed be related to age or be of pathological origin.

"Normal" variations of ferritin

  • At birth: the blood level of ferritin varies with age. Ferritin is higher at birth (about 400 μg / l), and then decreases to stagnate in adulthood.
  • In adulthood: the ferritin level remains higher in men until the menopause of women, where the gap is reduced. During pregnancy, especially towards the end, the pregnancy rate of ferritin falls, and iron requirements are increased.

But variations of ferritin can also be pathological and indicate an excess or a lack of iron in the blood which must then be monitored and possibly treated.

"Pathological" variations of ferritin

Low ferritin

One thing is certain: a low ferritin indicates that the iron reserves are low.

  • To read also: Lack of iron: causes and consequences

High ferritin

On the other hand, in the case of high ferritin, the iron reserves may be too high, but the ferritin level may rise for other reasons:

  • overweight (excess release of ferritin in plasma),
  • heavy alcohol consumption,
  • liver disease,
  • poorly balanced diabetes,
  • an inflammatory syndrome.

What to do with results?

A ferritin assay is not performed for routine control. In general, your doctor will have prescribed a dosage to check certain parameters.

There are about 6 different techniques for measuring ferritin. Once the blood is collected, the laboratories each have their protocol. It is therefore difficult to indicate a proportion of normal ferritin levels (for example, 20 μg / l for women), whereas normal values ​​are variable according to the dosage techniques used.

We can talk about hyperferritinemia beyond 500 μg / l, but your situation is not pathological.

Indeed, having a high ferritin ferritin is not pathogenic per se. It is the excess of iron that is dangerous because iron is an oxidant. Its excess will degrade the tissues and may cause heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or thyroid problems.

Namely: the results of a blood test do not sign a diagnosis. It will be necessary to return to your doctor who will be able to supplement from other clinical data and additional examinations, to establish an accurate diagnosis.

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Read also :

> Hemochromatosis: chronic iron overload
> Hemolytic anemia: what is it?
> Foods that contain iron

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