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
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Cancer
  • Hemochromatosis

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:
omnivorous diet
severe calorie restriction
joint pain/swelling/stiffness
very low serum iron
serious problem with cysts
long-term sleep surplus
tendonitis
sleeping more than necessary
iron deficiency anemia
minor chronic inflammation
poor cold weather tolerance
enlarged liver
... 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
Chronic Inflammation 95% Confirm
Cancer 12% Unlikely
Iron Deficiency Anemia 5% Ruled out
Hemochromatosis 2% 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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