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Old 06-07-2011, 07:23 AM   #1
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Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Hi guys.

When my doc tests my iron levels she does a Full blood count and ferritin test.
My blood count is always normal, and my ferritin is always low normal. However i have seen others on the board referring to their serum iron level... i'm assuming this is different to ferritin? Why have i not had this checked? Could you have a normal blood count but low iron along with low ferritin.

The highest my ferritin has been is about 37. It is currently 19.. with the range starting at 16, my doc says this is 'satisfactory'.

I have been suffering from extreme fatigue, brain fog, coldness, sweating, breathlessness, anxiety, extreme hunger, digestive problems, chronic sinus problems and more. Im thinking ferritin could be the cause of some of it. I dont feel any different if it's 19 or 37 though, think it needs to be higher. Any opinions? Thanks!

 
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:19 AM   #2
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Re: Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Anyone...?

 
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:40 AM   #3
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Re: Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by help wanted :( View Post
Hi guys.

When my doc tests my iron levels she does a Full blood count and ferritin test.
My blood count is always normal, and my ferritin is always low normal. However i have seen others on the board referring to their serum iron level... i'm assuming this is different to ferritin? Why have i not had this checked? Could you have a normal blood count but low iron along with low ferritin.

The highest my ferritin has been is about 37. It is currently 19.. with the range starting at 16, my doc says this is 'satisfactory'.

I have been suffering from extreme fatigue, brain fog, coldness, sweating, breathlessness, anxiety, extreme hunger, digestive problems, chronic sinus problems and more. Im thinking ferritin could be the cause of some of it. I dont feel any different if it's 19 or 37 though, think it needs to be higher. Any opinions? Thanks!

yes you could have low ferritin with normal serum iron and normal hemoglobin, called a latent iron deficiency. serum iron is the iron content of the blood at the time when the blood was being drawn. this can fluctuate.

ferritin is the level of ferritin in the blood, and ferritin itself is an iron storage protein in the body tissues.

ferritin can also fluctuate as it can be raised in inflammatory responses.

what doesn't fluctuate so much is soluble transferrin receptor levels - shows how much iron the tissues are actually in need of.

about half of that stuff doesn't sound ferritin related..in my opinion. what could be related is fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness.

the hunger and digestive problems (and perhaps even the brain fog) could be related to your diet. perhaps absorption problems thus the lower ferritin? it is interesting that it went from 37 to 19...

Last edited by hmm82; 06-14-2011 at 12:40 AM.

 
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:03 AM   #4
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Re: Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Thanks hmm82.

I've never had serum iron or transferrin tested. Are these not standard tests? Doc only ever does blood count and ferritin?

 
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:09 AM   #5
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Re: Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Also... if ferritin shows the amount of stored iron, what part of the blood count shows actual iron going around your body?

 
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:56 PM   #6
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Re: Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by help wanted :( View Post
Thanks hmm82.

I've never had serum iron or transferrin tested. Are these not standard tests? Doc only ever does blood count and ferritin?

ferritin is the best indicator of iron status of those three.


Quote:
Originally Posted by help wanted :( View Post
Also... if ferritin shows the amount of stored iron, what part of the blood count shows actual iron going around your body?

serum iron but as I said this of course fluctuates throughout the day.

 
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:17 AM   #7
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Re: Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by help wanted :( View Post
Hi guys.

When my doc tests my iron levels she does a Full blood count and ferritin test.
My blood count is always normal, and my ferritin is always low normal. However i have seen others on the board referring to their serum iron level... i'm assuming this is different to ferritin? Why have i not had this checked? Could you have a normal blood count but low iron along with low ferritin.

The highest my ferritin has been is about 37. It is currently 19.. with the range starting at 16, my doc says this is 'satisfactory'.

I have been suffering from extreme fatigue, brain fog, coldness, sweating, breathlessness, anxiety, extreme hunger, digestive problems, chronic sinus problems and more. Im thinking ferritin could be the cause of some of it. I dont feel any different if it's 19 or 37 though, think it needs to be higher. Any opinions? Thanks!
I don't want to alarm you but have a look into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). My husband had all the same symptoms as you for over a year before finally being diagnosed with CFS. He has been off work for 6 months now but making a slow recovery. At one point he couldn't walk more than 200 metres without having to sit down - this is a guy who used to cycle 100-150 miles a week. He spent the whole of 2010 in and out of doctors and consultants, haematologists (endless blood tests and ended up having bone marrow biopsy, all negative, although always low rbc & hct), he saw two gastroenterologists as everything he ate made him feel sick (wheat, wine, coffee, tomatoes, apples all of which he's now given up). He had tests for coeliac and other things (all negative), and also an MRI scan on his sinuses (negative). He used to get delayed fatigue from riding. E.g. ride on a Monday, felt ok on Tuesday but incredible muscle pain on Wednesday. Extreme hunger was attributed to carbohydrate addiction. As well as the physical fatigue, he suffered from terrible brain fog and headaches, and really struggled to do his job. It all started with a bout of glandular fever about 18 months ago, from which he never seemed to recover. He carried on working for another 15 months but slowly gave up cycling before everything just finally "fell apart" 6 months ago. I hope it's not CFS but look it up,and also post-viral fatigue. Have you had an illness that preceeds all your fatigue?

 
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:48 AM   #8
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Re: Difference between iron level and serum ferritin?

Pomster... thanks for your reply.
Unfortunately i do have CFS, i was diagnosed a few years ago but i do not believe in it as a diagnosis. It is a name for a group of symptoms, not a condition in itself and most of the symptoms can be caused from so many other things so i am not going to accept that as a diagnosis until everything else is ruled out. There still has to be a reason for low ferritin levels anyway.
Best wishes to your husband, i know exactly how he feels.

 
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