Total Protein: About This Test

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What is it?

A total serum protein test measures protein in the blood. It also measures the amounts of two major groups of proteins: albumin and globulin.

Why is this test done?

Albumin is tested to:

  • Check how well the liver and kidneys are working.
  • Find out if your diet contains enough protein.
  • Help find the cause of swelling of the ankles or belly or of fluid collection in the lungs that may cause shortness of breath.

Globulin is tested to:

  • Find out how well your body is able to fight off infection.
  • See if you have a rare blood disease, such as multiple myeloma or macroglobulinemia.

How can you prepare for the test?

  • In general, you don't need to prepare before having this test. Your doctor may give you some specific instructions.

What happens during the test?

  • A health professional takes a sample of your blood.

What else should you know about the test?

  • Your results will include an explanation of what a "normal" result is. This is called a "reference range." It is just a guide. 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 may still be normal for you.

How long does the test take?

  • The test will take a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: October 9, 2017