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Total Protein: About Your Child's Test

What is it?

A total serum protein test measures protein in the blood. Blood proteins are mainly made by the liver and white blood cells.

Why is it done?

The test is done to look for disease or illness in the body. When your child has a disease or illness, it can cause changes to the protein levels in their blood.

What do the results mean?

A low total serum protein level can be caused by:

  • losing blood
  • kidney damage
  • severe burns
  • having too much salt (sodium) in the body (called salt retention syndrome)
  • suddenly eating less protein

A high total serum protein level can be caused by:

  • severe dehydration (This can happen when your body loses too much fluid, making you weak, dizzy, unable to think clearly, or pass out.)
  • some blood cancers

How do you prepare for the test?

In general, you won't need to prepare before your child has this test. Your doctor may give you some specific instructions.

How is the test done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

How long does the test take?

The test will take a few minutes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

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