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I have a question about iron versus ferritin levels:

On my last blood order, I saw with my own eyes my PCP write "ferritin" on the order. I finally got around to asking for my results and the lab report said "iron", with a value of 50 ug/dL. (The normal range was given as 40 - 150.) There is no ferritin test at all. This was a follow-up test that I requested after my gynecologist saw a low HGB value on my test a week earlier, and unfortunately I do not have that report yet so I don't know the value.

My question is, I was put on iron supplements because of low HGB and iron levels. At least, that's what I was told. Is that appropriate? And what would having the ferritin value tell me that the iron value does not?

We also tested the following, and I assume these are all normal:

TSH 2.26 uIU/mL
B12 661 pg/mL
Folate 24.0 ng/mL

She also did a metabolic panel which has things like electrolytes, and liver panel values and these values all appear normal to me (I won't bore you with all those). And like I said, I don't have that original report that has the HGB, or HCT or MCV, etc. yet.

Thanks for any information that you might have about this. Have a great day, folks!
ChickieLou--Your right, your doctor probably did in fact write ferritin on your lab requisition. Sometimes the lab techs miss the added things, if they are not checked in a box they can miss it altogether. This has happened in my family and it's a pain to go back for just that one test, but that's what you have to do to get those results. Whenever I get a chance to have a ferritin ran I'm all for it because this number changes often.

A lowered hgb would require iron supplementation before anemia sets in. Anything under 12 is considered to be mildly anemic.

The serum iron is the iron circulating in the blood at the time of testing. This is affected by foods or supplements that you are taking at the time of blood test. I think this test also help in determining what type of anemia you might have. My Hematologist never ran this test ever on me in a year. Although my PCP always runs an iron package on me.

The true picture (of iron) is the ferritin being most important, which tells you how much iron is left remaining in the stores for future use. There are 3 stages of lowered iron stores; 1. Is reduced iron with no clinical effects. 2. Iron depletion shows hgb below normal range 3. Iron deficient, no iron is left remaining in the bone marrow hgb is well below range and anemia (IDA) is diagnosed. An important fact is that you can have ~lowered iron stores~ and not be anemic w/ normal hgb values.

When you get your lab numbers we can tell you more then. Hope this helps. FLFLOWERGIRL:)

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