Fibrinogen Blood Test Results Explained

Fibrinogen Blood Test Results Explained

The fibrinogen blood test is used to determine how a specific protein in the blood is functioning. This protein is produced by the liver and is essential for blood clotting. After someone receives a physical injury, the body takes several steps to stop that injury from bleeding. The final step is to have threads of this protein “block” the wound, creating what most people would call a “scab” over the injury. This covering then stays in place until the injury has healed. There are two types of fibrinogen blood tests which are commonly ordered today.

1. The Activity Test.
This blood test measures the body’s ability to actually make the protein when it is necessary. It is often used to help diagnose a possible bleeding disorder, track down certain serious diseases which may be affecting the body, or be used with other risk markers to determine a person’s potential future risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

2. The Antigen Test.
Should the activity test come back as “positive,” then this test may be ordered as a follow-up. It is used to help determine what may be the cause of the decreased fibrinogen activity that has been detected.

When To See a Doctor About the Fibrinogen Blood Test

The fibrinogen blood test is ordered by medical providers when there is an unknown reason why bleeding is occurring for a patient. It may also be ordered when other blood test results come back as positive, such as genetic testing to determine if someone has an acquired coagulation factor which could require ongoing treatment.

Medical providers who suspect someone may have thrombosis will also typically order the fibrinogen blood test. It may also be ordered to help determine the extent of a patient’s cardiovascular disease development or their future risk, but is usually a follow-up test in this instance instead of a primary blood test that is ordered.

What Do My Fibrinogen Blood Test Results Mean?

The fibrinogen blood test results will report on the actual concentration of this protein that is in the blood. For the activity tests, the results may be converted into a specific measurement to compare them to other blood test results at a medical provider’s discretion.

If the blood test results come back as “normal,” then this is an indication that a patient has normal blood clotting abilities.

Low levels of fibrinogen can be an indication that a patient has an acquired or a developed bleeding disorder of some sort. Malnutrition can cause fibrinogen levels to be low, as can end-stage liver disease. These levels must be typically be acutely low over more than one blood test for this type of diagnosis to be considered.

High levels of fibrinogen can be an indication of several health conditions. It is a reactant protein, which means that levels will naturally increase when the body requires this protein to mend an injury. Any time there is inflammation or tissue damage in the human body, fibrinogen levels will acutely rise. When there is an acute infection or an injury, these high levels are usually just temporary.

Prolonged high levels of fibrinogen can be an indication of a serious disease being present. Some cancers can cause high protein levels, as can cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or a stroke. People who smoke cigarettes on a regular basis may also have prolonged high levels of this protein. Women who are pregnant may also have increased fibrinogen levels throughout their pregnancy and several weeks after giving birth.

How To Treat Abnormal Fibrinogen Levels

If the fibrinogen blood test results have come back as being abnormal in some way, then a medical provider will work with their patient to develop a treatment plan. Treating high or low levels of this protein is dependent on the actual cause of the condition. Because many of the causes of abnormal protein levels are genetic or acquired in nature, ongoing treatments may be required to stabilize fibrinogen levels throughout the course of a patient’s life.

For a serious disease like cancer, treating the cancer and forcing it into remission can cause fibrinogen levels to decrease. Resolving malnutrition can cause fibrinogen levels to increase.

If you have seen a physical injury bleed more than it should, are prone to bruising, or you suspect that your health may be affected by the other conditions listed here, then it is important to schedule an appointment with your medical provider. Only they can diagnose your condition and order the fibrinogen blood test if necessary. Use this guide to ask questions about your health so that a treatment plan can be developed early to treat whatever condition may be affecting you today.