Ceruloplasmin plasma test is a blood test that is ordered to diagnose Wilson's disease. This is an inherited disease that is associated with an excess of copper in the liver and other vital organs like the brain. With this excess of copper, the ceruloplasmin levels fall down drastically. Only in rare cases can this test be ordered to diagnose copper deficiencies.
A clinician would generally order this test when a patient has symptoms of the Wilson's disease. Some of these symptoms are nausea, jaundice, abdominal pain, dystonia, anemia, fatigue. Difficulty in walking, behavioral changes, mood swings, difficulty in swallowing, and tremors are some of the symptoms of Wilson's disease.
In a rare case, the doctor will order for a ceruloplasmin test along with other tests when your doctor feels that you are suffering from a copper deficiency.When a person is diagnosed with low levels of ceruloplasmin, it does not necessarily correlate with any particular ailment. However, when the serum ceruloplasmin level is evaluated along with copper tests, the results may be associated with Wilson's disease.
In a serum ceruloplasmin test, only those who have low serum ceruloplasmin and low copper in their blood, and high copper levels in their urine, are said to experience Wilson's disease. In some cases however, people who have been diagnosed with Wilson's disease, exhibit normal ceruloplasmin levels. About 40% of those who exhibit hepatic symptoms also show normal ceruloplasmin levels.
When the urine and blood concentrations of ceruloplasmin are low, and the concentrations of copper are also low, the patient is simply suffering from a copper deficiency. Substances which may interfere with the body's ability to metabolize copper, may also have an effect on the serum ceruloplasmin levels.
An increased level of ceruloplasmin may be due to inflammation or tissue damage. Severe infections or damaging diseases like cancers may also cause the serum ceruloplasmin levels to rise. During pregnancy, the hormone levels are high and could cause a rise in the serum levels of ceruloplasmin. If you are using medications that contain estrogen, oral contraceptives and some other medications that affect your hormones, it can cause the ceruloplasmin levels to increase.
Ceruloplasmin levels are not routinely tested. Therefore the serum ceruloplasmin test is not a routine test and is not performed unless you are exhibiting signs and symptoms of Wilson's disease. The test may also be recommended if you have some visible problems of metabolizing copper.