Why this test?
- As part of the first stage of a comprehensive examination in the process of diagnosing various health disorders.
- To detect and assess the degree of severity of nutritional disorders (in case of intoxication, malnutrition, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract).
- In order to diagnose various diseases associated with disorders of protein metabolism, and to evaluate the effectiveness of their treatment.
- To monitor physiological functions during long-term clinical observations.
- To assess the body's functional reserves in connection with the prognosis of the current disease or future treatment procedures (medical therapy, surgical intervention).
In what cases is it prescribed?
- At the initial diagnosis of any disease.
- With symptoms of exhaustion.
- In case of suspicion of a disease associated with any disorders of protein metabolism.
- When evaluating the state of metabolism or the thyroid gland.
- When examining liver or kidney function.
- During long-term clinical observation of the course of treatment of diseases associated with disorders of protein metabolism.
- When the possibility of surgical operation is considered.
- During preventive examination.
The total protein content in blood serum reflects the state of protein metabolism. Proteins predominate in the composition of the dense remnant of blood serum (the liquid part that does not contain cellular elements). They are the main building material for all cells and tissues of the body. Enzymes, hormones, antibodies and blood clotting factors are made of proteins. In addition, they perform the function of carriers of hormones, vitamins, minerals, fatty substances and other components of metabolism in the blood, and also ensure their transportation inside cells.
The osmotic pressure of the blood depends on the amount of proteins in the serum, thanks to which the balance between the water content in the body tissues and inside the vascular bed is maintained. It determines the ability of water to be retained in the composition of circulating blood and to maintain tissue elasticity. Proteins are also responsible for maintaining the correct acid-base balance (pH). Finally, it is a source of energy during malnutrition or starvation. Blood serum proteins are divided into two classes: albumins and globulins.
Albumins are synthesized in the liver from food. Their amount in the plasma affects the level of osmotic pressure, which keeps the liquid inside the blood vessels. Globulins perform an immune function (antibodies), ensure normal blood coagulation (fibrinogen), and are also represented by enzymes, hormones and carrier proteins of various biochemical compounds. Deviation of the level of total blood protein from the norm can be caused by a number of physiological conditions (not of a pathological nature) or be a symptom of various diseases. It is customary to distinguish between relative deviation (related to changes in the water content in the circulating blood) and absolute (caused by changes in the exchange rate of synthesis / decay of serum proteins).
Physiological absolute hypoproteinemia can occur with prolonged bed rest, in women during pregnancy (especially in its last third) and breastfeeding, in children at an early age, that is, in conditions of insufficient intake of protein with food or an increased need for it. In these cases, the indicator of total protein in the blood decreases. The development of physiological relative hypoproteinemia (a decrease in the level of total protein in the blood) is associated with an excessive intake of fluid (increased by water load). Relative hyperproteinemia (increased levels of total protein in the blood) can be caused by excessive water loss, such as with profuse sweating. Relative pathological (related to any disease) hyperproteinemia is caused by significant fluid loss and blood thickening (with vomiting, diarrhea, or chronic nephritis). Pathological relative hypoproteinemia is observed in the opposite cases - with excessive fluid retention in the circulating blood (disruption of kidney function, deterioration of heart function, some hormonal disorders, etc.).
An absolute increase in total blood protein can occur in acute and chronic infectious diseases due to increased production of immune globulins, in some rare health disorders characterized by intensive synthesis of abnormal proteins (paraproteins), in liver diseases, etc. Absolute hypoproteinemia has the greatest clinical significance. An absolute decrease in the concentration of total protein in the blood most often occurs due to a decrease in the number of albumins.
A normal level of albumin in the blood is an indicator of good health and proper metabolism, and vice versa, a low level indicates low vitality of the body. At the same time, the loss / destruction / insufficient synthesis of albumins is a sign and indicator of the severity of some diseases. Thus, the analysis of total blood protein allows you to detect a significant decrease in the vitality of the body connection with any reasons important for health or to take the first step in the diagnosis of a disease associated with a violation of protein metabolism.
Depletion of albumin reserves in the blood can occur with malnutrition, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and difficulties in assimilating food, chronic intoxications. Diseases associated with a decrease in the number of blood albumins include some disorders in the work of the liver (decreased protein synthesis in it), kidneys (loss of albumin in the urine as a result of a violation of the blood filtering mechanism in the kidneys), certain endocrine disorders (violation of the hormonal regulation of protein exchange).