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Total Serum Protein

Risks

There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.

  • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
  • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
  • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

Results

A total serum protein test is a blood test that measures the amounts of total protein, albumin, and globulin in the blood. Results are usually available within 12 hours.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Total serum protein1

Total protein:

6.4–8.3 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or 64–83 grams per liter (g/L)

Albumin:

3.5–5.0 g/dL or 35–50 g/L

Alpha-1 globulin:

0.1–0.3 g/dL or 1–3 g/L

Alpha-2 globulin:

0.6–1.0 g/dL or 6–10 g/L

Beta globulin:

0.7–1.1 g/dL or 7–11 g/L

High values

High albumin levels may be caused by:

High globulin levels may be caused by:

Low values

Low albumin levels may be caused by:

  • A poor diet (malnutrition).
  • Kidney disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • An autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Gastrointestinal malabsorption syndromes, such as sprue or Crohn's disease.
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Heart failure.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Taking medicines, such as corticosteroids, estrogens, male sex hormones (called androgens), growth hormone, or insulin.
  • Injuries or infections.
  • Prolonged bed rest, such as during a hospital stay.
  • A long-term (chronic) illness, especially if the disease interferes with what you are able to eat or drink.
  • Being pregnant.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 02, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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