Albumin-Globulin ratio: Your liver is responsible for making the most of the proteins in your blood. They are important for good health.
Two of the important ones:
- Albumin. It contains drugs and hormones throughout your body. It also helps in the growth and healing of tissues.
- Globulin. It is a group of proteins. Some of them are made by your liver. Others are produced by your immune system. These help fight infection and transport nutrients.
The complete serum protein test measures all the proteins in your blood. This is the amount of albumin that you compare to globulin, also known as your “Albumin-Globulin ratio.”
Healthy people have slightly more albumin than globulin, but if you are sick, this may not be the case.
Why do I need an albumin-globulin ratio test?
Your doctor may order this albumin-globulin ratio test as part of a routine exam. But they also want:
- Make sure you get enough nutrition
- Detection of liver, kidney, or blood diseases
- See if you are at risk of infection
- Find out the reason for your symptoms
The purpose of the whole protein test
Complete the complete protein test as part of your general health test. This is one of the tests that make up your Comprehensive Medical Panel (CMP). You can order it if you have:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Edema, which is inflammation caused by excess fluid in the tissues.
- Symptoms of kidney or liver disease.
The total protein test measures the amount of total protein in the blood and specifically tests the amount of albumin and globulin.
This test also looks at the ratio of albumin to globulin in your blood. This is called the “albumin-globulin ratio.”
Preparing for the total protein test
You don’t need to make any special preparations before the test is done. Your doctor will let you know if you should avoid food or drinks before the test.
Many medications can affect total protein test results. Talk to your doctor about your current medication use before you take this test.
Medications that can affect the albumin-globulin ratio test results include:
- Growth hormone
- Ammonium ions
- Birth control pills
How was the albumin-globulin ratio test done?
A technician will take a blood sample. Sometimes it is taken from a vein in the hand. This can also be done with a finger stick. For newborns, this is done with a “heel stick” – blood is drawn through a small heel stick.
Some medicines, such as birth control pills, can reduce the amount of protein in the blood. This can distort your test results. Make sure your doctor knows all the medicines you are taking, as well as any herbs, vitamins, or illicit drugs.
Make sure you drink plenty of water before doing this test. Dehydration can change the results. Lab results should appear in about 12 hours.
What are the albumin-globulin ratio results?
Each lab has a slightly different range of what is considered normal. For that reason, your health and your past lab tests will be considered when your doctor views your results. Numbers and levels that seem “out of place” may be common to you.
Low amount of protein: You may have a digestive disorder, such as a liver or kidney disorder or celiac disease (your body cannot absorb protein).
High protein content: High protein content in the blood can be a sign of chronic infection or inflammation (such as HIV / AIDS or viral hepatitis). This is an early sign of a bone marrow disorder.
Low albumin-globulin ratio: This can be a sign of an autoimmune disorder where your body’s immune system is attacking healthy cells. It also refers to kidney disease or cirrhosis, which is inflammation and scarring of the liver. In some cases, a low albumin-globulin ratio can be a sign of a bone marrow tumor.
High albumin-globulin ratio – This is a sign of disease in the liver, kidneys, or intestines. It is also associated with low thyroid function and leukemia.
If your doctors think your levels are too high or too low, you may need more accurate blood or urine tests. For example, your doctor may give you serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) if your total serum protein is high, or if you have unexplained signs and symptoms, you may have a plasma cell disorder, such as multiple myeloma. Your doctor will give you more details about your results and if you need other tests.