A globulin test (globulin electrophoresis) is a blood test that measures the levels of a group of proteins called globulins. There are four types of globulin proteins: alpha-1, alpha-2, beta, and gamma globulin proteins. Globulins make up a little less than half of the proteins in the blood .
These proteins serve several functions, including immune defense, substance transport, and enzymatic processes.
There are two subtypes of the globulin test that can be used to test these proteins: the total protein test or the serum protein electrophoresis test.
The purpose of the test
A globulin test is a blood test. This is done by a healthcare professional who takes a blood sample from your hand.
If your healthcare provider orders a total protein test , they will want to measure the amount of alpha-1, alpha-2, and beta globulin proteins in your blood. They will also check your albumin (liver protein) levels, since measuring total protein is part of liver function tests.
If you have symptoms such as yellow skin ( jaundice ), nausea, vomiting, itching, persistent fatigue, swelling or fluid buildup (edema), and loss of appetite, your healthcare provider may order tests to see how well your liver is working.
Globulin proteins are important for liver and kidney function. A complete blood count is a good idea of how the liver works. Low levels of total protein can be a sign of liver disease.
The second type of globulin test is serum protein electrophoresis. This test measures gamma globulin and other trace proteins in the blood. Gamma globulins contain antibodies that help the body attack foreign substances and fight disease.
Antibodies are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system . Tests that measure gamma globulin can be used to diagnose problems with an overactive immune system, including allergies and autoimmune disorders .
An increase in gamma globulin proteins can indicate infection, chronic inflammation, and, in severe cases, a type of cancer called multiple myeloma .
While these tests can help the doctor make a diagnosis, the healthcare professional will also use other tests and evaluations to diagnose a specific condition or disease.
Globulin tests can help diagnose liver disease, kidney disease, malnutrition or malabsorption, immune system disorders, and some forms of cancer.
If your healthcare provider suspects one of these conditions or is particularly concerned about your liver or kidney function, they may order globulin tests right away.
However, they will still do a physical exam, take your medical history, and may need other tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Risks and contraindications.
Globulin tests require a blood sample. Taking blood samples ( venipuncture ) is a common procedure that can be done in a healthcare provider's office, clinic, or outpatient laboratory.
Most people do not experience any problems during or after a blood test. However, with a vein puncture, the following are possible:
- Torn blood vessels under the skin ( hematoma )
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Heavy bleeding
- Skin puncture infection
Although they generally do not occur, these results can be reversed immediately and generally have no long-term medical consequences.
For healthy people, the overall risk associated with venipuncture is low. Professionals who draw blood take steps to reduce risk, such as the use of disposable needles and proper safety measures.
In most cases, the benefits of the test outweigh the risks associated with having blood drawn. However, there are times when a person should not undergo a blood test (contraindication). For example, if they have a skin infection ( cellulitis ) in this area.
Before the test
You may need to abstain from eating and drinking (fasting) for several hours or overnight before taking a globulin test. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you need to fast and for how long.
Certain medications can affect the test results. Please inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications.
- Growth hormones
- Progesterone and estrogen (including birth control pills )
Do not skip or change a dose of medicine unless your doctor tells you to. If this affects the test, you may be asked to take your usual dose at a different time.
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, your medication list , perform a physical exam, and ask questions about your family medical history before ordering a globulin test. This information, as well as the test results, will help them make a diagnosis.
Most blood tests can be done in the office the same day your healthcare provider decides to get tested. However, if you need to fast before the test, you will need to schedule it for a later date.
Taking a blood sample for the globulin test usually takes only a few minutes. However, there are other steps you need to take that can increase the total time you spend on homework.
For example, if you go to an outpatient lab at a clinic or hospital, you may need to register and provide a copy of a lab order (request) from your healthcare provider.
Patient registration staff may ask you to confirm that information in your record, such as your health insurance and emergency contact information, is up to date.
Before drawing blood, the technician will ask you to confirm your name and date of birth to make sure the blood vials are properly labeled.
Your medical records are confidential and providing this information is a standard part of protecting your medical information.
After the blood draw, you can go home. Your healthcare provider will contact you when they receive the test results.
Some healthcare providers have a blood draw for a globulin test at the site, which means you can give a blood sample the same day your healthcare provider orders the test.
However, most healthcare provider offices require patients to donate blood at an outside laboratory that they have contracted with. These labs are large companies located in many places, including hospitals or clinics.
When you arrive at the test center, you will register at the reception. Your PCP will give you the registration documents to give to the secretary. These documents allow the technician to know what tests are going to be performed so that he can draw the required amount of blood.
After you check in and the technician reads your healthcare provider's instructions, you will be taken to a separate exam room or designated place in the lab for blood draw (phlebotomy) procedures.
What to wear
You do not need to remove your clothes or put on a gown to donate blood. However, the person drawing blood must access a vein in the arm where the elbow is bent. It can help to wear layers or a top with sleeves that are easy to drain.
Food and drink
Your healthcare provider may recommend that you fast before the test. This means that you will need to abstain from eating and drinking for a period of time before donating blood.
Your healthcare provider will tell you how long to fast, but this usually happens at least four hours before the test or the night before the test.
If you are taking certain medications, your healthcare provider may ask you to stop taking them before the test. Do not stop taking your medications unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
If you are allowed to continue taking your medicine while fasting, you can take it with a small sip of water.
It is recommended to drink more water the day before blood sampling. When you are properly hydrated, your veins are enlarged and easier to access. Dehydration can make it difficult to draw blood and increase the risk of complications.
Cost and health insurance
Drawing blood for the globulin test is routine and does not require prior approval from your insurance company . The cost of a specific lab test will vary from lab and insurance plan to insurance plan, but most routine blood tests are covered.
Contact your insurance company prior to the test to find out how much it will cost in cash, if any.
If your PCP has given you the test documents to give to a recorder or laboratory staff, you will need to bring them on the day of the blood draw. In some health systems, documents can be sent by fax or electronically.
The laboratory must obtain these documents directly from you or your healthcare provider in order to perform the test.
You should also bring your health insurance cards and photo ID as you may be required to present these at check-in.
You may have to wait for your registration or when you arrive at the lab. You can bring a magazine or a book. There are often reading materials in the waiting room as well.
During the exam
While your healthcare provider orders the test, a healthcare professional called a phlebotomist will take a sample of your blood. Phlebotomists are specially trained and certified in taking blood samples.
If you are in your healthcare provider's office, you will need to complete the same paperwork as for any visit. This may include displaying your insurance cards, completing a basic demographic form, and verifying that your contact information is correct.
If your PCP sends you to another part of their office for a blood test, you will probably need to bring your registration form. This document provides detailed information about the test and allows the phlebotomist to know how much blood to draw.
Information about you included in the documents (such as your name and date of birth) ensures that the blood sample is properly labeled and will not be lost or confused when it is sent for testing.
Throughout the test
During the blood test, you will sit in a normal or special chair in the laboratory. The phlebotomist will examine your veins to determine which is the best, or may ask you if you prefer which hand they draw blood from.
The phlebotomist will then apply a bandage to the upper arm to temporarily stop the blood flow. This allows them to see your veins better. If you have prominent and prominent veins, the phlebotomist may not need to perform this step.
The phlebotomist then sterilizes the inner crease of the elbow with an antibacterial wipe. They can use a sterile marker to mark the area over the vein where the needle will be inserted.
Some people experience a slight tingling or pinching sensation when the needle is inserted. The discomfort is usually mild and short-lived .
When you are sufficiently hydrated, this process generally only takes a few minutes. If the blood is not flowing well, the phlebotomist may ask you to squeeze a small ball to help.
Tell the phlebotomik if you experience dizziness, dizziness, or feel like you are about to pass out during or after donating blood.
The puncture site will be covered with a cotton ball and medical tape. The phlebotomist may advise you not to remove them for the next several hours.
In general, it is recommended to refrain from heavy lifting, exercise, or physical activity for several hours after the blood draw.
Taking blood samples usually does not have a long recovery period, so you can go home after the test. If you feel dizzy or weak, you will be asked to briefly stay in the laboratory to rest, eat, and drink.
After the test
There are no special instructions to follow after a blood globulin test. Your healthcare professional can tell you when to expect the results. They will contact you when you return the test and may ask you to return to the office to verify the results.
You should not have serious long-term problems with collecting blood. Even if you feel dizzy or faint after the test, healthy people generally recover quickly from rest and fluids.
Fainting after a blood draw is often associated with dehydration or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), especially if you have fasted before the test.
interpretation of results
Results can generally take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the size of the lab. Your healthcare provider will receive the results, interpret them, determine what the next steps will be, and then give you all of this information.
Globulin test results are presented as laboratory values. These numbers indicate whether a person has healthy levels of protein in the blood.
Protein globulin levels in adults typically range from 2.3 to 3.4 grams per deciliter (g / dL). The normal range for total protein is 6.4 to 8.3 g / dL .
In some cases, these proteins may be elevated. For example, during pregnancy, the levels of these proteins are normal.
The total protein test also provides the albumin to globulin ratio (A / G ratio). The 1: 1 ratio depends on the amount of each component in the blood (for example, if the albumin level is higher than the globulin level). Generally, a value slightly higher than 1 is considered normal.
A low ratio can be a sign of autoimmune disease , poor kidney function, or liver disease. A high proportion can indicate certain types of cancer or genetic diseases.
Globulin test results are not helpful by themselves. Your healthcare provider will interpret them based on your physical exam , medical history, and other tests before making a diagnosis.
If the results are normal, you do not need any special monitoring of the test. However, your healthcare provider may want to do other types of tests if you have symptoms.
If your results are outside the normal range, your healthcare provider may ask you to have additional blood tests to provide more specific information. If your healthcare provider suspects a certain condition, such as cancer, you may need imaging tests, such as an MRI , to look for swollen lymph nodes or tumors.
Get the word of drug information
Any medical procedure can affect a person's physical and emotional health. Collecting blood for a globulin test is generally safe for most people, does not take long, and is generally covered by your health plan. However, you still need to understand the procedure and the associated risks.
When the test results are obtained, you will want to speak with your doctor about any additional tests that are needed, as well as treatment options.
There are steps you can take to improve your health even before the test and regardless of the results.
Eating a balanced diet, exercising, losing weight if necessary, and quitting smoking can improve your overall health. If you're concerned about the test, its results, or what's next, relaxation and stress relief techniques can help.
Frequently asked questions
Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is a protein produced by the liver that binds to the hormones estrogen, dihydrotestosterone, and testosterone. Healthcare providers may order a blood test to check levels of this protein and diagnose hormonal disorders such as androgen deficiency or hypogonadism.
If you have high levels of protein, you may have gastrointestinal problems, or it could be a sign of cancer, an autoimmune disease, or a genetic disorder. However, staying in bed too long, dehydration, and problems drawing blood can also cause overestimated values. Your healthcare provider will most likely perform additional tests.
Yes. Research shows that aerobic and strength exercise can lower globulin levels, which are believed to help improve overall health.