I’m sure on more than one occasion you’ll have done a blood analysis, looked at the results, and seen that one of the parameters measure was total protein. And it’s more than likely you’ll also have wondered what they are exactly.
If so, make sure you’re paying attention, because in this article we’re going to look into the subject. As well as defining it, we’re also going to tell you what certain values may be due to, and what you should do if you’re the one who presents them.
What are the total proteins?
This is what proteins are: macromolecules that enter the body through the diet.
In fact, they’re present in all foods of animal origin and in almost all plants, vegetables and pulses. Once inside the body, it proceeds to break the peptide bonds it has to separate the aminoacids and, in this way, to be able to create new types of proteins from them (protein synthesis) that serve to develop your functions.
This process is known as protein synthesis.
What are total proteins? Proteins with a very high molecular weight and which, being formed by amino acids, bind to each other by peptide bonds.
In general terms, the sequence with which these amino acids are chained to each other, and the number of chains they form, are the elements that determine what the primary structure of the proteins will be.
Similarly, the term protein fraction is used for those measuring the specific amount of each type.
In any case, both values are extremely useful when carrying out blood tests aimed at determining the presence of any potentially damaging conditions.
What is the Purpose of a Total Protein Analysis?
- Sudden weight loss.
- Fatigue and tiredness.
- Appearance of oedema.
- Kidney problems.
A total protein test measures the total amount of protein in the blood and specifically looks for the amount of albumin and globulin.
Factors that alter the Total Protein Test
Amongst the medical treatments and drugs that can alter levels and therefore results are:
The result of this test aims to detect certain nutritional problems, as well as possible kidney and liver diseases. If the values obtained are too high or too low, further tests will be necessary to identify the specific problem being suffered.
Albumin Globulin Ratio
If it’s much lower, there might be:
- Autoimmune problems
- Kidney damage.
If, on the other hand, it’s high, the reason may be genetic or even leucimia deficiencies.
Interpretation of Total Blood Protein Values
The values considered as normal for blood proteins are between 6 and 8 grams per decilitre. In this sense, it should be noted that, at this time, any routine blood test will measure this parameter.
If total blood protein values are very high, the most often caused by dehydration, for example, through excessive sweating during prolonged physical activity.
Similarly, these values are usually present after any illnesses related to the digestive system that give rise to episodes of vomiting or diarrhoea.
On the other hand, when total protein values are considerably low, the answer is usually found in a nutritional deficiency due to an unbalanced diet, or problems preventing the correct absorption of nutrients present in the food.
To a lesser extent, they may also be indicative of heart failure or liver or kidney disorders.
What to do about Abnormal Values in Total Blood Protein?
As soon as abnormal levels of total proteins are detected in the blood, it is essential to make some lifestyle changes.
So, if you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to moderate the intensity of the exercise you do. Avoid exercising in high temperatures.
As you’re also likely to be dehydrated, it’s best to check with your doctor or a nutritionist on how to rebalance your body’s fluid levels.
At the same time, healthy eating habits need to become a priority
We’ve already commented on some causes that can lead to abnormal total protein values in the blood. However, there are certain conditions that can also cause this to happen, and it’s important to have accurate information about them.
In any case, the analysis in which they are determined must be complemented with serum albumin, liver function and protein electrophoresis tests.
The opposite of hyperproteinemia, i.e. produced by an excessively low number of total proteins in the blood as a result of the poor performance of the protein synthesis process, excessive protein catabolism or losses caused by one or more haemorrhages.
In any case, if you have any doubts about it or have identified with any of the symptoms we have described in this section, we strongly recommend that you contact your family doctor and tell them about the situation. They are the only person qualified to diagnose whether or not you have a disorder and to advise you on how to remedy it.
We hope this article’s been helpful and that, from now on, you’ll be clearer about what the term total protein refers to, a concept to which you should pay close attention.