How Is It Used ?
Total protein measurements can reflect nutritional status and may be used to screen for and help diagnose kidney disease, liver disease, and many other conditions. Sometimes conditions are first detected with routine testing before symptoms have begun to appear. If total protein is abnormal, further tests must be performed to identify which specific protein is abnormally low or high so that a specific diagnosis can be made.
What Does The Test Result Mean ?
Results of a total protein test will give your doctor information on your general health status with regard to your nutrition and/or conditions involving major organs, such as the kidney and liver. However, if results are abnormal, further testing is usually required to help diagnose the disease affecting protein levels in the blood.
Low total protein levels can suggest a liver disorder, a kidney disorder, or a disorder in which protein is not digested or absorbed properly. Low levels may be seen in severe malnutrition and with conditions that cause malabsorption, such as Celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
How The Test Is Performed ?
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
The blood sample is placed into a machine called a centrifuge, which spins the blood to separate the the liquid part of the blood (the serum) from the cells. The total protein test is done on serum .
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