Formal Name: Ferritin (serum)

What is Ferritin test?

Ferritin test is the test that determines the ferritin level in the blood. Ferritin is an iron-containing protein present in the blood. The test helps the doctor diagnose and understand the level of iron storage in the body of a person.

When to get tested?

2If the result of CBC (Complete Blood Count) shows that your body has a lower level of hemoglobin and hematocrit or your healthcare practitioner suspects that you have iron deficiency or too much iron, he/she will suggest you undertake the test.

If a person develops the symptoms or signs of iron deficiency or anemia, the doctor may suggest a ferritin test. The symptoms include


  • Chronic tiredness/fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Physical weakness
  • Pale skin (pallor)
  • Headaches

The ferritin is also suggested when a doctor suspects that there is iron overload in the bloodstream. The symptoms of iron overload vary from person to person and the situation only gets worse & worse over time. It’s because unused iron accumulates in the tissues and blood. Some common symptoms are –

  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Energy shortage during work
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Organ damage (heart and liver etc.)

For confirming the presence of iron overload in the body, the doctor can order additional tests (iron, TIBC) and the genetic test for identifying hemochromatosis as well.

3How the test is performed

Before performing the test, your doctor may suggest you not to eat anything for up to 12 hours. For performing the test, blood sample is required. The healthcare practitioner will collect the blood by injecting a needle into your arm’s vain.

What is a ferritin used for?

Ferritin test determines the stored iron in a person’s body. Often times, doctor order the test along with other tests like iron level and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC, based on the blood transferrin level) for detecting low iron (iron deficiency) or high iron (iron overload). The test is also useful in assessing the current situation of those conditions.

Normal Results

Normal value range is –

  • Male – 20-500  ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter)
  • Female: 20-500 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter)

If the result is nearby the lower level, even if it’s within the “normal” range, it’s highly likely that the person doesn’t contain enough iron in his/her body.

The numbers presented here are the general measurements of range for this test. The value of normal range may vary from one laboratory to another. It’s because some laboratories use different methods or samples for completing the test. You should contact your doctor beforehand in this respect.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A higher-than-normal ferritin level may be due to –

  • Liver diseases (especially due to alcohol overtaking)
  • Frequent transfusion of red blood cells
  • Autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Too much iron in the body (hemochromatosis)

The lower-than-normal result can also suggest that you have anemia due to iron deficiency in your body. This type of issue can be due to –

  • Taking diet(s) too low in iron
  • Heavy bleeding from an injury
  • Poor iron absorption ability
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Bleeding in the intestines, stomach, or esophagus

Anything else I should know?

Generally, most of the ferritin is inside the cells and only a small amount of it in the blood. That’s why if there’s the iron overload in the body, the additional ferritin comes into the bloodstream, increasing the normal level. The ferritin level can also be increased due to certain conditions like acute illness, even if the iron level of your body is within the normal range.


Formal name: Creatine Kinase-MB

What is CK-MB test?

2Creatine Kinase-MB is a type of test carried out on a blood sample to determine the level of an isoenzyme of Creatine kinase present in the blood. Creatine kinase (CK) test is conducted to ascertain the level of Myocardial infarction or injury in the body.

What does the test entail?

The body is made up of 3 types of Creatine kinase (CK) which are present in the muscles, heart, tissues and some organs like the brain, uterus and the intestines. CK-MB is released into the blood as a result of injured or damaged heart via the heart muscle cells. A creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) test is used to determine whether the increasing concentration of creatine kinase (CK) in the blood is as a result of heart or muscle damage.  This test could be required by your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms such as dizziness, excessive fatigue, nausea, a discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness and extreme tiredness.  This test is commonly employed to detect potential or existing diseases associated with the heart.

 Why go for CK-MB test?3

This test is crucial in determining or detecting the presence of a muscle damage and ill heart; sometimes to determine if you have once experienced a heart attack and also to monitor for subsequent heart damage. This test is required if you experience signs or symptoms of heart dysfunction.

When is it ordered?

CK-MB test is needed when one experience frequent chest pain due to a high concentration level of creatine kinase in the blood and your doctor wants to be sure whether it is as a result of skeletal or heart muscle damage.

How do I get prepared for the test?

There is no special preparation required for this test. Make sure you inform your doctor or healthcare practitioner about the kind of medications you are taking which also includes illegal drugs you might be using.

4Sample needed?

Your blood sample will be collected into a specimen tube using a sterile needle, adequately labeled and sent to the lab for proper examination.

 Are there risks associated with CK-MB test?

Having your blood sample collected with a sterile needle could result in a slight bleeding, bruise and make you feel a light sharp pain when the needle goes down your vein.

What does my test result mean?

The standard normal level of CK-MB in the blood is 5 – 25IU/L for both male and female regardless of age making it undetectable or of extremely low concentration in the blood. A high concentration level of creatine kinase in the blood could indicate you have once experienced a heart attack or heart-related issues. High concentration of CK-MB could also be caused by muscle damage or diseases that cause harm to your muscle thereby affecting your chest.  Kidney failure, some rare chronic muscle disease, alcohol abuse can also alter the CK-MB concentration level.

Is there anything else I am supposed to know?

Heart or skeletal muscle damage contributes majorly to a high CK-MB level.  Your healthcare provider could ask you to go for other tests like an electrocardiogram, or ECG, to determine the electrical activity in your heart.