What is Hypoproteinemia?

Hypoproteinemia is a medical condition in which the level of protein in the blood is below normal range. It is generally caused by an inadequate intake of dietary proteins or excessive excretion of proteins through the kidneys, intestines, or lungs. It can also be caused by liver dysfunction, digestive disorder, malabsorption, or certain medications.

Signs and symptoms of Hypoproteinemia

The symptoms of Hypoproteinemia may vary depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy, fatigue, and weakness
  • Swelling, especially in the feet, legs, and abdomen
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath

Complications associated with Hypoproteinemia

If left untreated, Hypoproteinemia can lead to certain complications including:

  • Anemia
  • Heart failure
  • Edema
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption of vitamins and minerals

Diagnosis of Hypoproteinemia

Your doctor will first review your medical history and do a physical exam. He or she may also order tests, such as blood tests, urine tests, and/or imaging tests, to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor may also recommend a biopsy of the liver to help determine the underlying cause.

Treatment of Hypoproteinemia

The treatment for Hypoproteinemia depends on the underlying cause. Your doctor may recommend changes in your diet to increase your protein intake, as well as medications. In severe cases, hospitalization and intravenous (IV) fluids may be needed. In some cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.