What causes low blood protein?

Low levels of protein in the blood can be caused by liver, kidney, and intestinal diseases. A condition known as nephrotic syndrome, characterized by high cholesterol and excess protein in the urine, could also lead to low protein levels. Malnutrition is an additional cause of low blood protein.

In patients with liver disease, the ability to break down and synthesize proteins is impaired. Excessive alcohol consumption and scarring of liver tissue can contribute to the development of liver disease. One of the main functions of the liver is to produce enough protein to support the immune system. If you can't make enough of it, low blood protein levels can be the result.

Malfunctions in the kidneys can also lead to low levels of protein in the blood. Under normal conditions, the kidneys help keep the blood clean of unnecessary acids and minerals and will cause the body to excrete these wastes. When the kidneys become infected, they can filter excess protein into the urine instead of keeping it in the body's bloodstream. Some kidney diseases are the result of other conditions, such as diabetes.

Low protein levels in the blood can also be caused by disorders of the intestinal tract. There are certain conditions and allergic reactions that can prevent proteins from being absorbed by the intestines. If proteins are not properly absorbed and synthesized, the body releases them as waste. This prevents the bloodstream from building up and maintaining proper levels.

Malnutrition is another leading cause of low protein levels. People who don't get enough through their diets are at risk. Pregnancy is another risk factor for developing low protein levels, as the added stress of fetal development requires higher protein intake.

People with certain disorders, such as immunodeficiency, may experience low protein levels. Some of these immune disorders are genetic and others are acquired. Immune disorders can cause the body to attack beneficial cells and nutrients, including protein.

Nephrotic syndrome usually results in a combination of generalized swelling and inflammation, high cholesterol, excess protein in the urine, and low protein levels. Poor hygiene habits can lead to low blood protein, as harmful organisms can invade a person's system through vulnerable openings like the eyes and nose. The body needs additional broken down proteins to fight infections and invading organisms. This would likely result in a short-term reduction in the body's overall protein levels.

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