Your Ferritin Level

What Causes Abnormal Ferritin Levels?

Abnormal ferritin levels can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'needs attention' to 'life-threatening'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose abnormal ferritin levels, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "abnormal ferritin levels" as a symptom.  Here are four possibilities:
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Cancer

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
loss of appetite
extreme calorie restriction
low energy/stamina
moderate unexplained weight loss
major joint pain/swelling/stiffness
fatigue after slight exertion
light body hair
minor chronic inflammation
elevated TIBC
serious problem with cysts
minor problem with cysts
macrocytic red cells
... and more than 30 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of abnormal ferritin levels:
Cause Probability Status
Hemochromatosis 92% Confirm
Iron Deficiency Anemia 13% Unlikely
Cancer 3% Ruled out
Chronic Inflammation 3% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having had recent lab tests, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Ferritin. Unit: ng/mL [pmol/L]
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Under 10 [22]
→ 10-17 [22-39]
→ 18-270 [40-607] (normal)
→ Over 270 [607]
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate very low ferritin levels, low ferritin levels, normal ferritin levels or elevated ferritin levels, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Chronic Inflammation

Less common causes of elevated ferritin levels include the presence of chronic inflammatory disorders, acute hepatitis and Gaucher's disease.

... and also rule out issues such as:
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