Definition of high blood protein
High blood protein (hyperproteinemia) is an excessively high level of proteins in the bloodstream. Normally, your blood contains relatively small amounts of many types of proteins. A sample of blood drawn from your vein can be tested to measure the amounts of these various proteins in your blood.
Causes of high blood protein
High blood protein may be caused by something as simple as mild dehydration, increasing the concentration of protein in your bloodstream. In this case, the blood proteins only appear to be elevated. High blood protein may also be a warning sign of chronic inflammation or infection, particularly of the liver. Elevated levels of immune system proteins produced by the bone marrow may raise concerns about certain bone marrow diseases.
High blood protein levels also may be discovered unexpectedly if a total protein test is included in a group of routine lab tests during a health checkup.
Possible causes of high blood protein include:
- A bone marrow condition
- Dehydration (which may make blood proteins appear falsely elevated)
- Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
- Multiple myeloma
A high-protein diet doesn’t cause high blood protein.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you experience:
- Nausea or poor appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Severe fatigue
- Persistent fever
- Tingling or numbness in your fingers and toes
- Dizziness or a drop in blood pressure upon standing or sitting
If your doctor suspects that you have a condition that causes high blood protein, he or she may recommend additional blood tests. A total protein test can determine whether you have high blood protein and where it’s coming from, for instance, the liver or the bone marrow. A serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) test separates and measures individual blood proteins, indicating which specific protein type is causing your high blood protein levels. The SPEP is often done when a bone marrow disease is suspected.