As a long time plasma donor, having a high protein level that prevents you from donating can be frustrating. However, there are several reasons why your protein level may be too high and steps you can take to lower it so you can continue providing life-saving plasma donations.
Plasma donation centers require donors to have a minimum total protein level of 6.0 g/dl to donate. If your level is above this threshold, you won’t be permitted to donate plasma on that day. The most common reasons for an elevated protein level are dehydration or an underlying medical issue.
Dehydration :The Silent Culprit
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you consume, and your blood becomes more concentrated. This can lead to an increase in protein and other blood components. To treat dehydration and lower your protein level:
- Drink plenty of water and electrolyte solutions like sports drinks. Aim for 8-10 glasses a day.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks which can worsen dehydration.
- Eat foods high in water content like fruits and vegetables. Soups, broths, and popsicles also help.
- Check the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow or clear if you’re well hydrated. Darker urine is a sign you need more fluids.
Medical Conditions That Raise Protein Levels
Certain illnesses like kidney disease, liver disease, or blood cancers can cause abnormalities in protein levels. If dehydration is ruled out as the cause of your high protein level, consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Treatments like dialysis, medication, diet changes or in severe cases hospitalization may be needed to manage the underlying condition.
Additional Tips To Lower Your Protein Level
Here are some other tips to help lower your protein level and qualify to donate plasma again:
- Eat a balanced diet with moderate protein intake. While plasma donation requires a certain level of protein, too much can raise your levels. Focus on lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, and plant-based proteins.
- Get plenty of rest. Lack of sleep and high stress can elevate protein levels. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and practice relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation.
- Avoid strenuous exercise before donation. Intense workout routines can temporarily spike protein levels. Light activity like walking is fine, but avoid heavy lifting or high intensity cardio on the day before or of your donation.
By staying well hydrated, eating a balanced diet, getting enough rest and managing any underlying medical issues, you can lower your protein level and resume providing life-saving plasma donations. Be sure to recheck with your donation center to ensure your levels have dropped to an acceptable level before your next visit.