High Protein Levels in Blood Samples Causes and Symptoms of Concern
High protein levels in blood samples drawn from an individual can indicate the need for more testing or some type of treatment. Normally, there are various proteins in your bloodstream, but in relatively small amounts. One of the proteins that raises concern is homocysteine.
High homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, although it has yet to be determined if homocysteine causes heart disease or if heart disease causes high levels of homocysteine.
Excessive amounts of protein-rich foods are suspected of raising homocysteine levels, but the connection has not been proven. One thing to keep in mind is that protein-rich diets in general are not a cause of high blood protein counts. While meats, especially those that are high in saturated fats, may be bad for your heart and circulatory system, protein is essential for good health. Proteins are necessary for repairing and building muscle, for producing new skin cells and for many other reasons. Your tissues are made of protein. It is the other components of the foods that can cause health problems.
Excessive levels of other bloodstream proteins can also indicate an underlying health problem. It is for that reason that additional testing is sometimes recommended. The basic tests look at the level of total proteins. Other tests look at individual proteins, such as homocysteine.
If your doctor has told you that test results showed elevated levels of total proteins, you should follow his recommendations. If you are having other symptoms, you should see your doctors as soon as possible.
The symptoms of concern that are not caused by, but are associated with conditions that cause high protein in blood samples include:
- Diarrhea (which can complicate dehydration and lead to electrolyte imbalance or even more serious problems)
- Severe fatigue (not associated with exercise or endurance training)
- Fever (indicates and infection)
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers or toes (may indicate a circulatory or neurological problem)
- Dizziness upon standing (indicates a drop in blood pressure)
- Weight loss not caused by dieting or exercise
- Nausea or decreased appetite
In some cases, high blood protein levels are not a cause for alarm. Mild dehydration, which is relatively common, can also cause the result. Being well hydrated prior to having a test could normalize the results. For this reason, retesting is sometimes recommended for people who are otherwise healthy and have no other symptoms of concern.
There are many health problems that can cause the results. Chronic inflammation or infection of the liver can cause elevated proteins in the bloodstream. Elevated levels of immune system proteins can indicate a condition involving bone marrow.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that you see your doctor if you experience any of those symptoms. A result of high protein in blood count could simply mean that you need to drink more water, but it could be something serious.