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Low Ferritin levels – What is the cause?

Patient: Hi i have been told by my doctor that my ferritin level is 11 and it should be at least 22, if nothing is done to increase the level should i be worried?




Doctor: Ferritin is an intracellular protein that binds to iron and stores it inside the body. This iron is then released when i t is needed by the body. The ferritin test is an indirect measurement of the amount of iron in the body. A decreased amount of ferritin will make you prone to anemia. The common symptoms of anemia are fatigue, tiredness, dizziness and headaches. As the anemia progresses you may develop breathlessness, chest pain, oral sores, body aches and sometimes craving for eating dirt, chalk or clay known as pica. A low ferritin may also be due to an underlying disease such as liver disease, autoimmune disease, chronic infections and in certain cancers. I would advise you to consult with your physician to determine the cause of the decreased ferritin levels. A diet containing green leafy vegetables, spinach, cereals, meat, fish and poultry will help in increasing the ferritin levels in the body.


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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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