Total Protein Test: Results and What They Mean

The total protein test, also known as albumin/globulin ratioit is indicated by the doctor when the following are suspected:

  • Liver or kidney changes.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Malnutrition.

The analysis can also be indicated as part of a routine check, included in the basic metabolic panel. It also complements evaluations for unexplained fatigue, edema, or any symptoms suggesting gastrointestinal problems or bone marrow disorders.

The total protein test measures the amount of protein in your blood. Most laboratories usually report the total value of these, the fractionated proteins (albumin and globulin), and the ratio (or quotient) of albumin to globulin.

What proteins are being measured?

Proteins are very important structures for the functioning of the organism. They are part of the structure of all cells, organs and tissues.

They are found in different forms, such as enzymes, carrier substances, complements and antibodies (or immunoglobulins). THE plasma proteins They are mainly synthesized in the liver, while immunoglobulins are synthesized by lymph node cells, bone marrow or spleen.

Two classes of proteins circulate in plasma: albumin and globulin. Albumin is present in a higher proportion, being about 60% of total protein and produced in the liver.

It is responsible for maintaining the colloidal osmotic pressure, thus preventing the leakage of fluid from blood vessels into the interstitium. Furthermore, it is responsible for the transport of hormones, vitamins, minerals such as calcium and various substances.

Globulins make up the remaining 40% of total blood proteins. They represent a diverse group. Some are produced by the liver and others by the immune system (lymph nodes, spleen and bone marrow). Its functions are oriented towards the transport of substances and the fight against infections.

Antibodies which are proteins.
Antibodies are proteins. They have a specific function linked to the defense of the organism.

How is the total protein test performed?

The total protein test is done by taking a sample of venous blood. Unless other blood tests are required in combination, no prior special preparation required (no fasting required).

The total protein test measures albumin and globulins. If results are altered, new tests, such as serum protein electrophoresis (immunofixation test) and quantitative immunoglobulin, may be indicated.

Serum protein electrophoresis measures the different groups of globulins. These are grouped in the field of study, depending on how they migrate, being classified as alpha, gamma and beta.

Analysis of the results

Values ​​vary with age. Over the age of 3 it is considered normal:

  • Total Protein: 6 to 8 grams per decilitre.
  • Albumin: 3.5 to 5.2 grams per decilitre.
  • Globulins: From 2 to 4 grams per decilitre.

Low total protein values ​​are associated with the following:

  • Malnutrition.
  • immunosuppression.
  • Hematological disorders: like leukemia.
  • Intestinal malabsorption: such as in celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Kidney disease: in glomerulonephritis and nephrotic syndrome there is loss of protein in the urine.
  • Severe liver disease: there is no protein production, as is the case with cirrhosis or liver failure.
  • Congestive heart failure: there is an increase in plasma volume, which decreases the protein concentration by dilution.

Elevated total protein values ​​can be found in the following tables:

  • dehydration: in this case, an increase in plasma protein concentration may occur due to inadequate intake or suffering from vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases: lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, viral hepatitis.
  • Amyloidosis: abnormal accumulation of proteins in different organs and tissues.
  • Bone marrow pathologies: multiple myeloma.
  • granulomatous diseases.

In addition to the total protein value, it is possible to evaluate the albumin/globulin ratio. A low ratio is associated with increased globulin production (as in multiple myeloma). Conversely, a high ratio is linked to lower globulin production, as in leukemia.

Woman with cancer and abnormal protein test.
This test is indicative of malignancy when it is altered. That is why it requires close attention from professionals.

Some issues to consider

to exist various factors of daily life that can affect total protein test results:

  • intense exercise.
  • Fatigue.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Medication use: Steroids, estrogen, and oral contraceptives can lower protein levels.

Although reduced protein levels can be a sign of severe malnutrition, a high protein diet will not raise total blood protein levels.

Taking the sample does not represent any risk and takes no more than 5 minutes. However, if the extraction technician leaves the tourniquet on for too long, it could cause albumin levels to be falsely elevated.

The post Total Protein Test: Results and What They Mean appeared first in altsalute.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular