Ferritin in the blood - what will lead to possible deviations from the norm

Ferritin is a protein that performs the function of storing iron in a non-toxic and biologically useful form for the human body.

It is found in all cells of the body, but its greatest concentration is in the cells of the brain, spleen and liver. In addition, it is part of the blood.

This is why the analysis of blood serum on the concentration of this protein indirectly reveals the amount of iron in the body and diagnoses such pathological conditions as anemia or hemochromatosis.

Let us examine in more detail what ferritin is in the analysis of blood, which means figures opposite to this indicator and on what diseases are shown to diagnosticians.


  • 1 Normal values ​​in women, men and children
  • 2 Reasons for change, pregnancy values ​​
  • 3 What does this mean if the level is elevated
    • 3.1 Diseases in which a high content of
    • 3.2 Increased numbers and cardiovascular diseases
  • 4 When the amount is lowered
    • 4.1 Why there is a decrease
    • 4.2 Low concentration association with cardiopathology

Normal values ​​in women, men and children

To determine the concentration of ferritin, for analysis of the venous blood as well as in any other case.

The procedure does not require any special preparation and does not differ from the usual blood test.

The serum content of ferritin depends on the sex and age of the individual:

  • in newborn infants up to a year of 25-200 μg / l;
  • in children under the age of 15 years - 30-140 mcg / l;
  • in adult men - 20-250 mcg / l;
  • in adult women - 12-120 mcg / l.
If the analysis revealed a deviation from the norm, the doctor will offer additional examinations. Most often, when a low or low level of protein is detected, a general or biochemical blood test is prescribed.

Causes of change, values ​​in pregnancy

In healthy men, the concentration of this protein in serum during life does not change much, but in women after menopause it can dramatically increase .

The lowest levels of this protein are observed in women during pregnancy .This is not a pathological condition if the level does not fall below the following:

  • first trimester - 56-90 mcg / l;
  • second trimester - 25-74 mcg / l;
  • third trimester - 10-15 mcg / l.

Sometimes the protein level may change as a result of prolonged fasting, due to regular transfusion or due to the taking of certain types of medications( eg, oral contraceptives).

A change in ferritin concentration may also be a warning signal indicating serious infectious, inflammatory or cancer diseases.

What does this mean if the level is increased

Iron is a toxic and dangerous substance for the body that is not excreted with biological fluids. The excess of this microelement accumulates in the heart, liver, joints, eventually damaging them.

Diseases in which a high content of

The causes of an increase in serum ferritin may be the following:

  • hereditary diseases associated with impaired storage of iron;
  • liver disease( hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, obstructive jaundice, tissue necrosis, hepatoma);
  • leukemia( myelogenous or lymphoblastic);
  • lymphogranulomatosis;
  • infectious and inflammatory diseases( rheumatoid arthritis, osteomyelitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections);
  • systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • cancers;
  • of blood disease( polycythemia, anemia);
  • burns;
  • hyperthyroidism;
  • Legionnaires' Disease.
A persistent elevated level of this protein indicates the presence of chronic inflammatory processes in the tissues of the body. Often this condition is observed with alcoholism.

Elevated numbers and cardiovascular diseases

Diseases of the cardiovascular system associated with hemochromatosis, most often affect men .In women, the risk of getting heart disease as a result of hemochromatosis only occurs during menopause. And this is understandable: from the female body excess iron is excreted during menstruation.

If hemochromatosis is not eliminated, this condition can lead to cardiovascular system : cardiac ischemic heart disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, heart attack, and even sudden cardiac arrest.

As a result of an increased level of ferritin, heart hemochromatosis can develop - a disease in which the heart muscle acquires a characteristic rusty-brown color, thickens and grows in size.

In this occurs cardiosclerosis - proliferation of fibrous tissue. Subsequently, the contractile function of the myocardium decreases due to atrophic or dystrophic changes in muscle fibers.

Usually, after detecting an elevated ferritin concentration of , the doctor prescribes the following tests:

  • for determining the total iron binding capacity of the serum;
  • genetic test for hemochromatosis;
  • ECG and holter study of the heart.

If there is a risk of coronary heart disease, the analysis will show an increase in the level of ESR and leukocytes. Other characteristic changes will also be noticeable:

  • increase in the amount of serum iron to 54-72 μmol / l;
  • decreased total iron binding capacity of serum;
  • low transferrin content;
  • hyperglycemia;
  • dysproteinemia;
  • increase in the saturation ratio of transferrin iron up to 60-90%.

In the presence of cardiovascular diseases, it is necessary to keep the level of iron in the body under control. The physician will prescribe appropriate therapy to keep the ferritin concentration within 70-80 μg / l .

This will have a positive effect on the dynamics of treatment of a detected heart or vascular disease, reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack, increase the duration and improve the quality of life.

Cardiovascular disease can be both a consequence and a cause of increased levels of iron in the body. For example, in cases of circulatory disorders related to heart attacks and strokes, the observed a sharp increase in ferritin in the serum .

More information on hemochromatosis, see video:

When the amount is lowered

One of the frequent diseases accompanied by a decrease in ferritin is iron deficiency anemia .Lack of iron in this case leads to the fact that hemoglobin - the most important component of red blood cells, carrying oxygen through the body - is not produced in sufficient quantities.

Why the decrease in

occurs The most common causes of decrease in the concentration of this protein in serum:

  • iron deficiency anemia;
  • celiac disease;
  • hemolytic anemia and intravascular hemolysis;
  • malabsorption syndrome - malabsorption of microelements in the intestine;
  • severe kidney damage( nephrotic syndrome).
Often iron deficiency anemia is associated with malnutrition: this state develops when the level of intake of this trace element with food is below the daily norm.

What is dangerous if ferritin is lower than normal? The fact is that in the iron deficiency state of , the production of hemoglobin, the main carrier of oxygen , decreases. Consequently, all tissues of the body do not receive sufficient nutrition, they experience oxygen starvation. This is especially reflected in the brain and cardiovascular system.

Learn about anemia more from the video:

Low concentration association with cardiopathology

Deficiency of iron and, as a consequence, anemia, can be caused by heart failure. In addition to lower ferritin, the assays show a low level of hemoglobin ;in the study of erythrocytes it turns out that they are small in comparison with the normal size and less saturated with hemoglobin.

With the progression of anemia , a low saturation level of the transferrin can be detected. Constant low pressure is also observed.

But most often the lack of ferritin is not a consequence, but the cause of cardiovascular disease.

Iron deficiency leads to the following cardiac and vascular disorders:

  • carditis;
  • vascular injury;
  • metabolic disorders in the myocardium;
  • tachycardia.

As the heart does not get enough power, the works at an unusual pace, wears out quickly. Because of the constant load, it expands, hypertrophies. And this leads to the fact that the myocardium needs an increased supply of oxygen, which the body is not able to provide.

Sooner or later there is hypoxia of myocardial cells. The consequence of this condition is small-focal necrosis, noises in the heart, insufficiency of mitral and aortic valves.

A decreased or elevated serum ferritin concentration indicates that the person suffers from hemochromatosis or anemia .These conditions have a negative impact on the health of the heart and blood vessels and lead to the development of heart failure, heart attacks and strokes.