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Blood Test: Ferritin (Iron)

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
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What Is a Blood Test?

By taking and testing a small sample of a person’s blood, doctors can check for many kinds of diseases and conditions. Blood tests help doctors check how the body’s organs are working and see if medical treatments are helpful.

To help your child get ready for a blood test, find out if they need to fast (not eat or drink) or should stop taking medicines before the test. Explain what to expect during the test. If your child is anxious about it, work together on ways to stay calm.

What Is a Ferritin Test?

Ferritin is the protein inside of red blood cells that stores iron. A ferritin (FAIR-eh-tin) test helps doctors know how much iron is stored in the body. Iron is needed to make red blood cells, so when ferritin levels are low, the body makes fewer red blood cells. Ferritin levels can be high with some medical conditions. Let the doctor know if your child has had a blood transfusion. This can affect the ferritin test.

Why Are Ferritin Tests Done?

Doctors may order a ferritin test to check for too little or too much iron in the body. Having a low number of red blood cells is called anemia. A ferritin test can help doctors see if low iron is causing the anemia.

What if I Have Questions?

If you have questions about the ferritin test or what the test results mean, talk to your doctor.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: September 2021