Covid-19: What is the ferritin blood test recommended for coronavirus patients?

Ferritin is a blood protein that contains iron. A ferritin test helps your doctor understand how much iron your body stores, explained Dr Samrat Shah, consultant Internist, Bhatia Hospital Mumbai.

Normal range for blood ferritin is:

* For men, 24 to 336 micrograms per litre
* For women, 11 to 307 micrograms per litre

It is important to get yourself tested early on. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Causes of low ferritin blood levels

If a ferritin test reveals that it is lower than normal, it indicates your body’s iron stores are low and you have iron deficiency. As a result, you could be anaemic. Some symptoms include:

• Feeling dizzy, weak, and tired
• Headaches
• Paleness
• Shortness of breath
• Rapid heartbeat

Causes of high ferritin blood levels

If a ferritin test shows higher than normal levels, it could indicate that you have a condition that causes your body to store too much iron. It could also point to liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, some types of cancer and most importantly in this pandemic, it suggests an inflammatory process. The most common causes of elevated ferritin levels are obesity, inflammation, and daily alcohol intake. The most common cause of genetic-related elevated ferritin levels is the condition hemochromatosis.

Symptoms of high iron levels vary and can include:

• Exhaustion
• Heart problems
• Joint Pain
• Low sex drive
• Loss of body hair
• Stomach Pain
• Weight loss
• Abdominal pain
• Lack of energy

Especially in this Covid 19 pandemic, ferritin levels have a significant prognostic value. Higher the ferritin, the worse is the prognosis. However, one ferritin value is not enough to determine. It has to show a serially rising trend which could even denote cytokine storm. The reason is the virus, and especially black fungus (mucormycosis), as they both survive on higher iron stores. The other complication of high iron stores is the possibility of prothrombotic event in view of blood stasis due to hypercoagulable state.

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