The protein ferritin acts as a storage facility for iron, only releasing it when the body requires it. Ferritin is usually found in the cells of the body, and only a very small amount travels through the bloodstream. Ferritin is kept in reserve in the cells of the body until it is required for the production of new red blood cells.
Signals from the body trigger ferritin secretion. Following this, the ferritin binds to a different molecule known as transferrin. This protein joins with ferritin to deliver it to the site where fresh red blood cells are formed. To ensure a person’s health, it is vital to maintain appropriate iron levels. A lack of ferritin can lead to a rapid depletion of iron reserves in the body.
Anemia is caused by low ferritin levels. This indicates that the red blood cell count is significantly low. Iron deficiency can also be caused by having an unhealthy diet or losing a significant amount of blood. It is also possible that the body has problems absorbing iron from the food.
The pancreas, liver, heart, and joints suffer harm if the ferritin levels are too high. Hemochromatosis, which is an inherited condition, is the most typical cause of an elevated iron level.
Hypoferritinemia refers to a blood condition characterized by a low ferritin concentration. Ferritin is a biomarker of iron storage, and a low level indicates that the body’s iron reserves are depleted. Blood cell production is hindered when the body lacks sufficient iron.
Low ferritin levels are a clear indicator of an iron shortage. The shortage of iron is very dangerous because iron is essential for generating hemoglobin, which is important for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the entire body. Anemia occurs if a person does not get enough iron. Iron is necessary for the following reasons:
- Growth and development.
- Standard Metabolism.
- Synthesis of hormones in living organisms.
The following are some of the symptoms of hypoferritinemia:
- Unsteady heartbeat.
- Pale skin.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Fragile and easily broken nails.
- Cold feet and hands.
- Irritation or pain in the tongue.
- Cravings for things that are not nutritious, such as dirt, ice, or starch.
- A lack of appetite, particularly in children.
Anemia is directly related to the body’s shortage of iron. However, the cause of iron insufficiency differs.
Among the most common causes are:
- Inadequate dietary iron intake or poor nutrition: Iron deficiency is mostly caused by diets lacking iron. Eggs and beef are iron-rich foods that help the body make hemoglobin. A person can develop an iron deficit if they do not consume sufficient iron-containing foods regularly.
- Loss of blood: Iron is most commonly found in the blood since it is kept in the red blood cells of the body. An iron shortage occurs when a person loses a significant amount of blood due to an injury, childbirth, or heavy menstruation. In some instances, gradual blood loss caused by chronic illnesses or certain tumors might result in an iron shortage.
- A diminished capacity to take up iron: Some individuals are unable to digest enough iron from their diet. This can be caused by celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or a small intestine removal.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women frequently suffer from low iron levels. There is a risk of developing an iron deficiency since the developing fetus has a high demand for iron. In addition, the volume of blood in a pregnant woman’s body increases. Due to the increased volume of blood, additional iron is required to satisfy its requirements.
- Genetic Changes: Genetic mutations can cause iron loss or absorption, as well as the management of iron or ferritin.
Counseling and iron supplements treatment is frequently used in conjunction as the first step of treatment. It is advantageous to routinely include free iron in the diet. To prevent poor compliance due to gastrointestinal adverse effects of oral therapy, 28-50 mg of elemental iron seems appropriate. An intravenous injection is only required in rare circumstances.
The majority of hypoferritinemia individuals regain normal ferritin levels after receiving treatment. Intravenous immunoglobulins, prednisolone bursts, or combinations of these medications are the particular therapy options for this disease. After 8 to 10 weeks, repeat basic blood tests to gauge therapy progress. Patients with persistently low ferritin levels mostly benefit from occasional oral iron replacement to preserve iron reserves and from long-term monitoring with repeated basic blood tests every six to twelve months to assess iron stores.