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What causes raised ferritin levels in the blood?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2015
Answered : 312 Questions
I had routine bloodwork done and all tests came back normal except for a raised ferratin 575. When tested again 6 weeks later it came back at another high value 445. No other tests for inflammation were done. CBC with differential all normal. I'm 41 M, 6'3 and about 198 lbs, very lean, exercise daily and don't drink. I've read online what the elevated level could be and my dr referred me to a hematologist and infectious disease specialist. I feel very healthy with nothing that bothers me regularly except maybe some gas and occasional bouts of diarrahea. A few other factors that might be relevant. 1. I regularly participate in contact sports and both times I took the ferratin tests I had a swollen elbow from impacts that happened within a week prior. I also have osteoarthritis with bone spurs that developed in that and other joints. 2. I eat a diet rich in oatmeal, chicken with occasional red meat, beans and brocolli as well as brown rice and I consume these things together everyday. Can either of these two factors be partially responsible for my raised ferratin levels. My other iron bloodwork tested within the normal ranges
Mon, 21 May 2018 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Eni 49 minutes later
Brief Answer:
The first one is definitely related

Detailed Answer:
Dear patient,
From what I see, you live a very healthy life. Your diet, physical activity and BMI are very normal, and the fact that you don't have any other change in CBC means that you are not suffering from any kind of anemia.
As you have read, ferritin is raised in inflammatory conditions, and contact sports can create bruises which are associated with raised ferritin level.
Plus you have osteoarthritis and joints problems which are always associated with high ferritin.
I would take another ferritin test later, without having a bruise.
But mostly, I would not worry about this high level, because of osteoarthritis.
MAnoku ENi M.D.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes raised ferritin levels in the blood? 6 hours later
Thank you, would any pulled muscle, aggravated tendon joint such as my elbow that's bothering me be considered a bruise?

Even though osteoarthritis (in at least 2 joints and possibly my low back) isn't RA it still has the potential to elevate ferratin from some inflammation in your view ?
Answered by Dr. Eni 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes and yes

Detailed Answer:
Every kind of muscle or joint damage that causes inflammation, can increase ferritin levels.
Also there have been a lot of studies showing that not only in RA and SLE (Systemic Lupus), but also patients with osteoarthritis have been showing high ferritin levels.
As I see your medical history, there is no other symptom or sign of more serious conditions such as hemochromatosis, thus I would not worry for the time being, and wait for another ferritin test ofter a month.

I hope I have helped you. If you have any other question, I would be happy to answer.
Manoku Eni M.D.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes raised ferritin levels in the blood? 43 hours later
My biggest concerns are the silent killers like pancreatic cancer that show increased ferratin. I assume there could be many other things but that's my concern. Could even a minor bruise raise ferratin as much as mine were?
Answered by Dr. Eni 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
Every bruise can raise ferritin and the amount depends on specific organism

Detailed Answer:
Dear patient,
There is never a limit to establish the amount of ferritin after a bruise, because every body responds in his own way.
If you doubt for pancreatic cancer, you would need to check your pancreatic enzymes and have an abdominal ultrasound. This will work as a screaning procedure. Ferritin level is not specific, neither its amount in blood.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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