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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18662
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Can low ferritin in a person ( female ) aged 66 mean blood

Customer Question

Can low ferritin in a person ( female ) aged 66 mean blood
Loss? Or would
Only hemaglobin have to be low for this. ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

Yes, a low ferritin is worrisome for blood loss. The serum ferritin is a reflection of iron stores, and iron stores can get low before the hemoglobin gets low. So, someone that is getting progressively more iron deficient will get a low ferritin before they get a low hemoglobin, but decreasing body iron levels is worrisome for blood loss in either case.

In practical scenarios, we usually do not routinely check ferritin levels until we find a low hemoglobin, so it usually true that a person has both a low hemoglobin and a low ferritin. It is also important to note that there is a long list of conditions that can cause a falsely elevated ferritin, which one of the reasons that it is usually not done as an initial test.

If I can provide any clarification, please let me know.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does this indicate malignancy ? She is aged 66In 2013 hemaglobin was 11.5 and now 2016 -10.5. What does this tell you ?Ferritin tested first time and level is 8.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

No. There is a concern that there could be malignancy. However, any condition that causes chronic blood loss can cause iron deficiency and a low ferritin. Some are benign, such as peptic ulcers or abnormal blood vessel formation. Since malignancy is the most worrisome, that is the reason that the tests are being done, and usually done as quickly as possible, but the tests will also look for the benign conditions that can cause blood loss.

Progressive lowering of the hemoglobin is likely due to worsening iron deficiency.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
From 11.5 in 2103 and 10.5 is not a big drop in 3 years right ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also , can diet alone be the cause or very unlikely ?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

It is only a modest drop, but in the context of a low ferritin, further evaluation is indicated.

It is virtually impossible for an adult to become iron deficient solely because of poor iron intake, which is why iron deficiency indicates loss of iron somewhere, and in a post-menopausal woman or an adult male of any age, that usually means blood loss in the gut.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
does low ferritin indicate blood loss too?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
now it makes
Sense why dr have refered for colonoscopy and endoscopy
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

Yes - as I said above, decreasing body iron levels is worrisome for blood loss in either case.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What would u say chances are of
Malignancy ?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry for the delay, but I had to step away from the computer.

There is a moderate chance that cancer or a pre-cancer is present.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She does not have weight loss or anything just the low hemoglobin and low ferritin .Do both mean iron defficiency anemia ?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

Yes, although your original question was asking about the significance of the ferritin level.

Please provide a positive rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If u have blood loss via a tumor etc would
Ferritin drop?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 1 year ago.

I answered that above.