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    Total protein

    The total protein test measures the total amount of two classes of proteins found in the fluid portion of your blood. These arealbumin and globulin.

    Proteins are important parts of all cells and tissues.

    • Albumin helps prevent fluid from leaking out of blood vessels.
    • Globulins are an important part of your immune system.

    How the Test is Performed

    A blood sample is needed. Most of the time blood is drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    Many medicines can interfere with blood test results.

    • Your health care provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before you have this test.
    • Do not stop or change your medications without talking to your doctor first.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test is often done to diagnose nutritional problems, kidney disease or liver disease.

    If total protein is abnormal, you will need to have more tests will need to be done to look for the exact cause of the problem.

    Normal Results

    The normal range is 6.0 to 8.3 gm/dL (grams per deciliter).

    Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

    The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Higher-than-normal levels may be due to:

    • Chronic inflammation or infection, including HIV and hepatitis B or C
    • Multiple myeloma
    • Waldenstrom's disease

    Lower-than-normal levels may be due to:

    • Agammaglobulinemia
    • Bleeding (hemorrhage)
    • Burns (extensive)
    • Glomerulonephritis
    • Liver disease
    • Malabsorption
    • Malnutrition
    • Nephrotic syndrome
    • Protein-losing enteropathy

    Considerations

    Total protein measurement may be increased during pregnancy.

    References

    Klein S. Protein-energy malnutrition. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 222.

    Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 116.

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            Review Date: 5/5/2013

            Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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