Your blood contains two classes of proteins: albumin and globulin. Albumins help carry other substances throughout your blood and keep fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. Globulins include enzymes, antibodies and more than 500 different proteins. Normally, the total amount of protein in your blood falls between 6.0 and 8.3 grams per deciliter, or g/dL. If the amount of protein in your blood increases, it usually signals an underlying medical condition.
Chronic Inflammation and Infection
Disorders that cause chronic inflammation of the tissues and chronic infections, such as HIV or hepatitis, can raise the levels of protein in your blood. When your tissues are inflamed or infected, your immune system continuously sends out antibodies, which are proteins that try to attack the diseased cells and prevent them from causing further harm to the body. As a result, the levels of protein in your blood continue to rise.
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects your plasma cells, which are the white blood cells contained in your bone marrow. The main function of plasma cells is to create antibodies to fight off infections. If you have multiple myeloma, your bone marrow contains abnormal plasma cells, which multiply very rapidly. Because plasma cells are responsible for creating antibodies, excess amounts of plasma cells lead to excess amounts of the protein antibodies in your blood.
Amyloidosis is a general term for a group of disorders characterized by the accumulation of a specific type of protein, called amyloid, in your organs and tissues. The most common type of amyloidosis, primary amyloidosis, is characterized by overproduction of antibody proteins by the plasma cells in your bone marrow. This type of amyloidosis usually results in the accumulation of proteins in your tissues. Secondary amyloidosis occurs in response to another underlying medical condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or tuberculosis. The inflammation and infection associated with these conditions cause an overproduction of antibodies and lead to high levels of protein in the blood.
Waldenstrom's disease, or polycythemia vera, is a condition characterized by an increased production of blood cells by your bone marrow. The increase in blood cells also leads to an increase in antibody production and an increased level of protein in the blood. This is a rare cause of protein in the blood and affects men more than women. In addition to high protein levels, those with Waldenstrom's disease usually have abnormally thick blood.