Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Ferritin blood test?

Hi, I was diagnosed with low ferritin 13µg/L (range 15 - 200 µg/L) in late August after becoming breathless and very tired. Haemoglobin was 135g/L, and MCV 79fL (78-98fL). I was put on ferrous fumerate tablets 210mg twice a day for 3 months.

I had a blood test around a month after starting them in late September which showed my levels had risen to 22µg/L ( with haemoglobin 143g/L, MCV 80fL). Have since had another blood test (FBC) which unfortunately didn't also measure Ferritin but my haemoglobin was 141g/L and MCV 81fL.

Saw one of the GPs at my practice last week about something else who seemed happy with those levels(!!) and to complete the 3 month course then come back in late Jan for another blood test to check my ferritin levels again. I've got another 1.5weeks of tablets left to go.

The GPs in my practice have been absolutely great about my Pernicious Anaemia... just not convinced they're quite as on the ball as much about the iron deficiency! Not sure why my levels were so low.

I'd like to know what my iron levels at the end of the 3 month course are even if my GPs are not interested! Can anyone recommend a company I can use to get my ferritin levels measured privately? (preferably by a finger prick blood test if possible?)

4 Replies

If you have PA then you have gastric atrophy because your immune system is killing off your Gastric Parietal Cells (GPCs). As well as producing IF (the lack of which causes the B12 deficiency) these cells produce stomach acid (HCl).

To absorb iron the atoms need to be in solution. Iron atoms find it easier to dissolve in acid situations, so the lack of HCl makes it harder for the iron to dissolve and harder for the body to absorb it.

The iron you're taking is chelated with fumaric acid (hence fumarate) which helps it get into solution.

The body's red cells are replaced every three months, or thereabouts, so it takes a while for the effects of iron replacement to show. You haemaglobin and ferritin is rising and your red cells are getting bigger. I'd agree with the doc if your symptoms are waning.


Your ferritin is still very low. There was one piece of research which showed complaints of fatigue did not improve till levels were over 60. Restless Legs Syndrome is common in iron deficiency, and Johns Hopkins likes to see patients with this at over 80 at least. I would want to see my ferritin at 80ish.

Blue Horizon do a ferritin test.

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I had a period of very low haemoglobin and my ferritin was 3 at one point. I have been taking ferrous sulfate since Easter. They should be measuring your ferritin aswell as Hb. My hb has been ok for a while, but they have said they want my ferritin up to 100, as that is where iron reserves are stored (I think). Did they do any tests to see why you were anaemic?. I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy. They only showed slight gastritis. I gather they frequently don't find out exact causes. Just stuff you full of iron and hopefully monitor you when you stop taking them

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Thank you all!

No they've not done any tests related to work out why my ferritin was so low. GP wasn't sure but wasn't interested in finding out past asking me about my periods and if I pass blood. I presumed it'd be due to low stomach acid /PA as fbirder mentioned. My breathlessness has certainly disappeared since taking the tablets. Tiredness is up and down depending on when my next B12 injection is due!

The blood test (with no ferritin test) in Oct was because my lymphocytes were low in the late September blood test and they wanted to check them again 4 weeks later. The low lymphocytes were due to the stinking cold I came down with a day or 2 later!

Has anyone used They seem to do a fingerprick ferritin test...


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