Ceruloplasmin is a glycoprotein that’s produced in the liver.
It carries or transports
A ceruloplasmin test can determine the levels of ceruloplasmin in your body. The test is most often used to diagnose Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic disorder.
Wilson’s disease causes too much copper to collect in the liver, the brain, and other body tissues and organs. It’s also known as hepatolenticular degeneration.
Your doctor may order a ceruloplasmin test if you have symptoms of Wilson’s disease. Symptoms of Wilson’s disease are primarily hepatic (or liver-related), neurological, and psychiatric and may include:
- jaundice, or yellowing of the skin or eyes
- skin rash
- joint pain
- bruising easily
- loss of appetite
- changes in behavior
- difficulty controlling your movement or difficulty walking
Your doctor will usually order the ceruloplasmin test along with other blood and urine copper tests to confirm your diagnosis.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, your doctor may order the ceruloplasmin test to determine if your treatment is working.
For the ceruloplasmin test, you’ll be required to provide a blood sample.
A healthcare professional will use a needle to extract blood from your arm. The blood will be collected in a tube and sent to a lab for analysis.
Once the lab reports the results, your doctor will be able to provide you with more information about the results and what they mean.
If you have a ceruloplasmin test, you may experience some discomfort when the blood sample is drawn. Needle sticks may result in mild pain during the test.
In general, the risks of a ceruloplasmin test are minimal. These risks are common to most routine blood tests. Potential risks include:
There’s usually no preparation required for the ceruloplasmin test. Ask your doctor if there’s anything special you need to do before the test.
- men: 22 to 40 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
- women who don’t take oral contraceptives: 25 to 60 mg/dL
- women who take oral contraceptives or estrogen: 27 to 66 mg/dL
- pregnant people: 30 to 120 mg/dL
Young children tend to have higher ceruloplasmin blood levels than older children and adults. For example, the normal range for children between 7 months old and 3 years old is 31 to 90 mg/dL.
Your ceruloplasmin test results will vary based on the lab that completes the analysis of your blood. Talk with your doctor about your results and what they mean.
If your ceruloplasmin levels are lower than normal, it may indicate the presence of Wilson’s disease.
Low levels of ceruloplasmin
Other health problems may also cause your ceruloplasmin levels to be low. These include:
- liver disease
- liver failure
- malabsorption syndrome, which means difficulty absorbing nutrients (especially protein) and other substances from the intestines
- Menkes disease, which is a hereditary metabolic disorder that affects the body’s copper levels
- nephrotic syndrome, which causes a variety of symptoms that include:
High levels of ceruloplasmin
Your ceruloplasmin levels may be higher than normal if you’re:
- taking estrogen
- taking a combination birth control pill, which is an oral contraceptive that contains estrogen and progesterone
If your ceruloplasmin levels are high, it could also indicate that you have:
It’s important to note that the ceruloplasmin test isn’t typically used to diagnose most conditions that cause abnormal levels of ceruloplasmin. It’s mostly used if someone has symptoms of Wilson’s disease.
Treatment for Wilson’s disease typically begins with medications that help reduce the level of copper in your organs. In later stages, zinc may also be prescribed. High levels of zinc can inhibit copper absorption.
If the test reveals any other abnormalities, your doctor will help interpret your results. Either way, they may want to do some follow-up testing.