Potential causes of high ferritin levels include liver disease, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, some forms of cancer, diabetes, multiple blood transfusions, and porphyria, which are disorders related to enzyme deficiency. Any condition that causes the body to store too much iron may result in high ferritin levels.
Ferritin is an iron-containing blood cell protein. A ferritin test indicates how much iron is in the blood and provides useful information on how much iron the body is storing. High ferritin levels can also be caused by a genetic disorder called hemochromatosis. This condition causes the body to store excessive amounts of dietary iron.
Total iron-binding capacity and transferrin tests can be done at the same time as the ferritin test. These tests are helpful for providing further information about the level of iron in the body. After being diagnosed with high ferritin, retesting is important to monitor the condition and determine appropriate treatment. Normal levels of blood ferritin are between 11 and 307 micrograms per liter in women and between 24 to 336 micrograms per liter for men. Low ferritin levels indicates that the body has low iron levels, which may be a sign of iron deficiency or anemia. Higher numbers than this indicate too much iron in the bloodstream, which, if untreated, can lead to problems that include sexual dysfunction, diabetes and organ damage. Hereditary hemochromatosis, a genetic predisposition to excessive iron storage, can go undetected for many years since it takes time for toxic levels of iron to accumulate in the body.