High Protein Levels in Blood Samples Causes and Symptoms of Concern
High protein levels in blood can be a definite health concern. Most people learn about an abnormal reading from the health professional who is testing their blood and therefore are usually involved in a diagnosis right away. Seeking profession health advice for abnormal blood readings, especially high protein readings is advisable.
It is important to note right out of the gate, that eating a diet high in protein does not elevate the protein in your blood. Rather, high sugar and high fat diets can increase inflammation in parts of the body which can increase blood protein levels.
Normally, there are various proteins in your bloodstream, but in relatively small amounts. High protein levels in the blood can be an indication of several potential problems, one of which being inflammation. Many times if you have inflammation in your body, extra protein is released from the inflammation site into the blood. There are several different tests that can be used to detect this increase in blood protein such as the CRP (C-reactive protein), the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) and the PV (plasma viscosity) tests.
How is the blood tested?
A blood sample is typically put in a tube that contains a substance to prevent the blood from clotting. As the tube sits upright in a holder, the erythrocytes (red blood cells) drift down to the bottom of the tube. t the top clear liquid plasma remains.The rate at which the red blood cells separate from the plasma is the ESR rate. A high ESR rate would indicate you have inflammation somewhere in the body.
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.
One thing to keep in mind is that since protein-rich diets in general are not a cause of high blood protein counts, other parts of your diet can have an effect. While meats that are high in saturated fats may be taxing for your heart and circulatory system, protein (especially animal 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 and every single cell in your body contains some protein.
Excessive levels of other bloodstream proteins can indicate a variety of underlying health problems. It is for that reason that additional testing is sometimes recommended and one should seek the advice of a doctor. The basic tests look at the level of total proteins. Other tests look at individual proteins, such as homocysteine.
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.
Other Causes of high protein in the Blood:
Liver: Chronic inflammation or infection of the liver can cause elevated proteins in the bloodstreamThe 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.
Multiple Myeloma: A cancer of the white bloom cells in bone marrow that is called “multiple” because it occurs in more than one area of the bone. Once cells become cancerous they produce abnormal antibodies, which are proteins and are released into the blood stream.
Amyloidosis: A medical condition that can occur in the heart, spleen, liver, kidneys, stomach and other organs where amloid proteins are produced that interfere with normal function. It can be caused by other conditions such as kidney disease and Hodgkin’s disease.