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Total Protein Blood Test

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KEY POINTS

  • This blood test measures total protein levels in the blood.
  • This test is done to check for problems with your child’s liver or kidneys, or for problems being able to digest and absorb nutrients from food.
  • Make sure your child follows his or her healthcare provider’s instructions about eating, drinking, and exercising before the test.

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What is the total protein blood test?

This test measures total protein levels in the blood. Two main kinds of proteins are found in the blood: albumin and globulin. Albumin makes up about 60% of the total protein. Albumin helps:

  • Keep fluid in the blood from leaking out of blood vessels
  • Carry calcium, hormones, medicines, and other substances through the blood

Globulin proteins include hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and other types of proteins.

Why is this test done?

This test is done to check for:

  • Problems with your child’s liver or kidneys
  • Causes of unplanned weight loss or fatigue

The total protein test may be done as part of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP). The CMP includes a liver panel, creatinine test, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test, electrolytes, calcium, and blood glucose.

How do I prepare my child for this test?

  • Your child may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your child’s healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that your child is taking. Ask your child’s healthcare provider before stopping any of your child’s regular medicines.
  • Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.

How is the test done?

Having this test will take just a few minutes. A small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider when and how you will get the result of your child’s test.

What do the test results mean?

Your child’s total protein level may be higher than normal if your child has:

  • Hepatitis or HIV infections
  • A bone marrow disorder
  • Dehydration

Your child’s total protein level may be lower than normal if your child has:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Malnutrition or an intestinal problem such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease
  • Problems with digesting or absorbing protein

What if my child’s test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your child’s medical history and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your child’s health care provider about your child’s result and ask questions, such as:

  • If your child needs more tests
  • What kind of treatment your child may need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes your child might need to make
Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-02-11
Last reviewed: 2019-02-05
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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