1. My iron level is normal, but my ferritin level is low. Why is that?
The development of iron deficiency anemia is a gradual process. If your body is not taking in enough iron, your body first uses the iron that is stored in tissues (i.e., ferritin) and blood levels of ferritin will begin to decrease. If not corrected, the stored iron begins to be depleted as it is used in the production of red blood cells. In the early stages of iron-deficiency, blood levels of iron can be normal while stored iron, and therefore ferritin levels, will begin to decrease.
2. I know eating foods high in iron or taking iron supplements will increase my iron level, but will it also increase my ferritin level?
Yes. Taking in more iron will increase the level of iron in your body. If the level of iron in your body increases and is more than your body requires, then your body will begin to store more iron in the form of ferritin.
The people who typically need iron supplements are pregnant women and those with documented iron deficiency. Young women who become anemic due to poor dietary intake and have chronic and/or excessive loss of blood during their menstrual cycle may require iron supplements. People should not take iron supplements before talking to their doctor as excess iron can cause chronic iron overload. An overdose of iron pills can be toxic, especially to children.
If it is due to a temporary condition or ingestion of iron supplements, then it will likely resolve on its own once the condition or supplement ingestion is resolved. If it is due to hemochromatosis or to a chronic disease, then it cannot be cured; careful management by your physician is required. In severe cases, periodic removal of a prescribed amount of blood, also known as therapeutic phlebotomy, may be necessary.
This article was last reviewed on May 28, 2013. | This article was last modified on July 21, 2013.
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