M At The Doctor


Ferritin is a reflection of iron stores in the body. Its rate varies according to several parameters and its dosage is useful in certain specific cases. Explanations.

What is ferritin?

Ferritin is an iron reserve protein. It can store it in the body and regulate its absorption in the intestine.

Ferritin should not be confused with transferrin, the role of which is to transport iron to the cells of the body (especially red blood cells) and to dig into the reserves when needed.

The role of ferritin

Ferritin provides a storage role. In this, it indicates the amount of iron in the body. Attention, when we dose ferritin, we do not dose iron! These are two different molecules.

The dosage in the blood of ferritin is called ferritinemia.

What dosage and in what cases?

Generally, it is estimated that an assay (by simple blood test) of ferritin would detect martial deficiencies (lack of iron in red blood cells). In reality, it is the iron dosage that will inform this eventuality.

The lack or excess of ferritin does not "feel" physically, even if people with hypoferritinemia (low ferritin) experience greater fatigability.

Different situations may prompt the doctor to ask for a dosage of ferritin:

> You have anemia . To find out if it comes from a lack of iron, the easiest way is to dose it. If your results indicate that iron levels are too low, you need to know if this is related to an iron deficiency in the reserves, or if it is because of an inflammation. For slicing, a ferritin test can be done: if iron and ferritin are low, this will indicate a lack of iron in the blood. If ferritin is increased, it is an inflammation.

> You want to know if you have an excess of iron : in this case, it is necessary to dose iron and transferrin. If a woman has a high iron level with an iron / transferrin ratio greater than 45%, hemochromatosis (too much iron) may be suspected.

> You want to check the effectiveness of a treatment to counter iron deficiency. Filling ferritin will be used to measure your reserves. As long as they remain low, it means that the treatment must be continued.

You want to react, to give your testimony or to ask a question? Appointment in our FORUMS or A doctor answers you!

Read also :

> Iron: what is it for?
> Foods rich in iron
> Iron deficiency anemia; causes, symptoms and treatments
> Lack of iron: the consequences

Author: Charles Brumauld.
Expert consultant: Dr. Bruno Varet, hematologist at Necker Hospital, Paris.

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