Protein Blood Test

Protein Blood Test-Why am I having this test?

Proteins are substances that are important for many functions in the body. You may have the protein blood test as a part of routine screening tests.

This test helps screen for liver disorders, kidney disease, and many other conditions. Your health care provider may also order this test if you have symptoms of one of these conditions.

What is being tested?

This test measures the amount of protein in your blood. The two main types of protein in the body are albumin and globulin. The test will measure the amount of each type as well as the total amount of protein in your blood.

What kind of sample is taken?

A blood sample is required for this test. It is usually collected by inserting a needle into a blood vessel.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any medical conditions you have.

How are the results reported?

Your test results will be reported as values that indicate the total amount of protein in your blood and the amount of albumin and globulin. Your health care provider will compare your results to normal ranges that were established after testing a large group of people (reference ranges). Reference ranges may vary among labs and hospitals. For this test, common reference ranges are:

Adult and elderly

  • Total protein: 6.4–8.3 g/dL or 64–83 g/L (SI units).
  • Albumin: 3.5–5 g/dL or 35–50 g/L (SI units).
  • Globulin: 2.3–3.4 g/dL.
  • Alpha1 globulin: 0.1–3 g/dL or 1–3 g/L (SI units).
  • Alpha2 globulin: 0.6–1 g/dL or 6–10 g/L (SI units).
  • Beta globulin: 0.7–1.1 g/dL or 7–11 g/L (SI units).

Children

  • Total protein:
    • Premature infant: 4.2–7.6 g/dL.
    • Newborn: 4.6–7.4 g/dL.
    • Infant: 6–6.7 g/dL.
    • Child: 6.2–8 g/dL.
  • Albumin:
    • Premature infant: 3–4.2 g/dL.
    • Newborn: 3.5–5.4 g/dL.
    • Infant: 4.4–5.4 g/dL.
    • Child: 4–5.9 g/dL.

What do the results mean?

Results within the reference range are considered normal. Increased protein levels may indicate:

  • Dehydration.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Iron-deficiency anemia.
  • Estrogen therapy.
  • Malignancy.
  • Chronic inflammatory disease.

Decreased protein levels may indicate:

  • Malnutrition.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Liver disease.
  • Nephrotic syndrome.
  • Fluid imbalance.
  • Acute inflammation.

Talk with your health care provider about what your results mean.

Questions to ask your health care provider

Ask your health care provider, or the department that is doing the test:

  • When will my results be ready?
  • How will I get my results?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What other tests do I need?
  • What are my next steps?

Summary

  • A protein blood test measures the total amount of protein in your blood and the amount of albumin and globulin, the two main types of protein in your body.
  • The protein blood test is a part of routine screening tests and helps screen for liver disorders, kidney disease, and many other conditions.
  • Talk with your health care provider about what your results mean.
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