What Does a High Ferritin Level Indicate?


Quick Answer

A high ferritin level may indicate that a person has a condition causing the body to store excessive amounts of iron, according to Mayo Clinic. It can also be a sign of liver disease, hyperthyroidism or rheumatoid arthritis.

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Excessive iron storage is a common sign of an iron storage disorder called hereditary hemochromatosis, states MedicineNet.com. This is a condition where more iron is taken up from the intestines than what needs to be replaced. The human body is unable to increase the rate of iron excretion.

Obesity, inflammation and daily alcohol consumption are common reasons for elevated ferritin levels on a population level, reports the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

A very high ferritin level is defined as greater than 1,000 ng/mL, according to Mayo Clinic. Some laboratories operate with 200 ng/mL as a high value for women and 300 ng/mL as a high value for men, reports the National Center for Biotechnology Information. This number can vary from lab to lab, and the test is always assessed in combination with a patient's general health, as noted by WebMD. Ferritin levels outside of the normal reference range can be normal for some people.

Ferritin is a protein in the blood that stores most of the iron in the body, as stated by WebMD.

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