Total Protein Test
Rarely required alone. Forms part of other test profiles such as liver function tests.
A blood taken from a vein
The total protein test is a rough measure of all of the proteins in the plasma portion of your blood. Proteins are important building blocks of all cells and tissues. Total protein measures the combined amount of proteins the two major two classes of which are albumin and immunoglobulin. Albumin is a carrier of many small molecules, but its main purpose is to keep fluid from leaking out of blood vessels, while immunoglobulin proteins are antibodies. To a much lesser extent enzymes and more than 500 other proteins contribute to the total protein.
How is it used?
When is it requested?
What does the test result mean?
Low total protein levels can suggest a liver disorder, a kidney disorder, or a disorder in which protein is not digested or absorbed properly or immunoglobulin not being made (for example in bone marrow failure). More specific tests, such as albumin and liver enzyme blood tests, must be performed to make an accurate diagnosis. High total protein levels can indicate dehydration or some types of cancer, that lead to an accumulation of an abnormal protein (such as immunoglobulin in multiple myeloma).
Is there anything else I should know?
Can I test for protein levels at home?