Serum ferritin measurement is used for the diagnosis of iron deficiency and iron overload in the body as well as for the laboratory differential diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia from chronic anemia.
Ferritin is a large spherical protein consisting of 24 subunits with a molecular weight of about 450 kDa. The subunits form a shell surrounding a central core containing variable amounts of iron. One molecule of ferritin is capable of binding 4,000 to 5,000 iron atoms, making ferritin the main iron storage protein. The ferritin concentration is directly proportional to the total iron stores in the body, so serum ferritin concentrations are a diagnostic tool for assessing the body's iron status.
Ferritin levels decrease before the onset of symptoms of anemia. For example, in the first stage of iron anemia, the stocks of ferritin and hemosiderin are depleted. In the second stage, serum iron is decreased and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) is increased. Reaching the third stage, the level of hemoglobin decreases, and the lack of iron affects the synthesis of heme. Estimation of ferritin level, in combination with determination of iron level and total iron binding capacity, is used in the differential diagnosis of different types of anemia.
Race, income, education and other socio-economic factors are linked to iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia. Individuals considered to be at high risk for iron deficiency include adolescent and adult women, strict dieters, and people who are obese. Early and low birth weight infants also have an increased risk of iron deficiency.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Increase: Anemia other than ferropenic (chronic, hemolytic, megoblastic, malignant, ferroblastic), carcinoma (generalized, hepatic), cirrhosis, hemochromatosis (idiopathic), hepatic disease (acute, chronic), hepatic necrosis Hodgkin, hyperthyroidism, inflammation (chronic), iron intake (excessive dietary or blood transfusion), leukemia, obstructive jaundice, multiple myeloma, polycythemia, kidney disease (chronic), rheumatoid arthritis, Imia (major and minor), tissue injuries. Medications: Alcohol (ethanol), ascorbic acid (in women), iron, hormonal contraceptives
- Decrease: Acute peptic ulcer, gastrointestinal adenoma, iron deficiency anemia (iron deficiency), colon cancer, hemodialysis, inflammatory bowel disease, pregnancy, vigorous sports activity, surgical surgery
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.