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What do ferritin levels in a blood test measure?

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Quick Answer

Ferritin levels in the blood indicate how much iron is stored in the body, according to WebMD. Ferritin is a protein that binds to iron and is found in the liver, spleen, skeletal muscles and bone marrow. The small amount of ferritin found in the blood indicates the amount of iron in the body.

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What do ferritin levels in a blood test measure?
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Full Answer

The normal values of ferritin in the blood are 18 to 270 nanograms per milliliter for men and 18 to160 nanograms per milliliter for women, according to WebMD. Different labs have different ranges for normal ferritin levels. The results are evaluated by the physician in conjunction with lab ranges, patient health and other factors.

WebMD states that a ferritin blood test is performed to find the cause of anemia due to iron deficiency; the cause of hemochromatosis, also known as an elevated iron level in the body; or determination of the presence of inflammation. The test is also performed to monitor iron treatment used to regulate iron level. A ferritin test is often conducted with other tests to check the amount of iron in the body and determine if a low level of iron is caused by a condition other than iron deficiency anemia. These tests may include a complete blood count, blood iron level, iron-binding capacity, serum iron level and transferrin saturation.

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