Everything About Albumin Blood Test that You Need to Know
Albumin is one the most important constituents of blood, which is why albumin blood test is an important indicator of bodily ailments or injuries, especially those related to liver and/or kidney. Albumin blood tests specifically conducted to check if the liver and kidney is functioning properly. But since albumin test alone can’t be enough to conclude the exact medical condition, just like any other medical test, it is conducted in tandem with other tests.
The first and most obvious step to ascertain if a patient has a certain ailment is to conduct certain medical tests which will confirm whether the symptoms shown by the patient are indeed real or not. Medical tests generally check the status of blood constituents; each blood constituent has a certain normal range and if the constituent’s level in blood falls below or goes up the normal range, the doctor draws certain conclusions and recommends future course of action accordingly. Albumin is one of the important constituents of blood plasma and, hence, an important indicator of various ailments.
What is Albumin and When is Albumin Blood Test Conducted?
To put it simply, albumin is a family of proteins present in blood plasma; it is produced in the liver and in fact, is the most prevalent protein and, hence, one of the most important constituents of blood. Apart from being an important indicator of various diseases, it has wide applicability due to its non-toxic, non-immunogenic, and biocompatible nature. It is, hence, widely used as a drug delivery mechanism and as a replacement for lost fluids in various diseases and injuries. The albumin market is one the fastest growing markets due to these properties and its wide applicability.
Albumin blood test is one of the most common medical tests and a part of general checkups too. However, these tests are specifically conducted to check the functioning of liver and kidney, in particular. A doctor may recommend the blood test if any or all of the following liver or kidney disease symptoms are visible:
- Liver disease symptoms
- Jaundice, i.e., yellowing of eye whites or skin
- Dark yellow urine
- Edema, i.e., swelling due to trapping of excess of extra fluids in legs or stomach area
- Bruises all over the body
- Sudden weight loss and fatigue
- Changes in stool color
- Kidney disease symptoms
- Frequent urination with nocturia, i.e., higher frequency at night.
- Frequent muscle cramps
- Appetite loss, fatigue, nausea, and frequent vomiting
- Changes in urine color, with traces of blood in it
- Dry and itchy skin
If the above-mentioned symptoms occur all at once or persist for a fairly long time, doctors will specifically ask the patient to undergo an albumin blood test, in addition to urinalysis and other subsidiary tests. This is because liver converts the fats we consume into proteins, one of which is albumin; it, in turn, helps in keeping fluids from leaking out of bloodstream. Hence, any changes in liver or kidney functioning are bound to be indicated in this blood test.
How is Albumin Blood Test Conducted?
A regular albumin blood test involves a phlebotomist drawing out a blood sample from a vein in the patient’s arm. Except for a slight pinching sensation when the needle is pierced, the blood test is completely painless. Also, there aren’t any specific conditions to fulfill or special preparations that the patient has to do before undergoing the test. Depending on the patient’s medical history and the symptoms he/she is showing, the medical practitioner may, however, ask the patient to refrain from eating or drinking anything (including taking medicines) several hours before the test. This is because, protein levels may get fluctuated which might produce false results in the test.
What Do Albumin Blood Test Results Means?
In an average adult human being, the albumin levels in blood, range from 3.5-5.5 g/dL, i.e., grams per deciliter.
- Higher-than-normal levels generally indicate:
- Severe dehydration
- Lower-than-normal levels generally indicate:
- Liver and kidney disease;
- Hepatitis A, B, or, C
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Thyroid ailment
- Sepsis and associated inflammation
The Bottom Line
Albumin blood tests are surely one of the best indicators of improper liver and/or kidney functioning. However, as seen from above, they may not be always conclusive as to determine the exact nature of the medical condition the patient is suffering from. Hence, this blood test is always conducted along with other tests, such as urinalysis, serological test, kidney and liver function test, etc.
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