Albumin tests are often ordered as a part of a liver panel to assess liver function or during a renal panel to assess kidney function.
One of the most abundant proteins in our bodies, albumin is produced by the liver and is used primarily to keep fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. It also plays a vital role in the maintenance, growth, and repair of tissue throughout the body. Frequently referred to as a “molecular taxi,” albumin transports several key substances such as: hormones, fatty acids, vitamins, and drugs. When we eat, our liver takes proteins from our food and changes them into new proteins that are sent to a number of different tissue and organ systems.
Symptoms of liver disease include:
- Jaundice (yellow skin)
- Unexpected weight loss
- Swelling around the eyes, stomach, or legs
Symptoms of kidney disease include:
- Swelling around the eyes, face, wrist, abdomen, thighs, or ankles
- Urine that is dark or foamy
- Decrease in the amount of urine or problems urinating
- High blood pressure
Normal Ranges in g/dL
0 - 30 days: 2.9 - 5.5
1 - 3 months: 2.8 - 5.0
4 - 11 months: 3.9 - 5.1
1 - 59 years: 3.5 - 5.0
60 - 79 years: 3.2 - 4.8
> 79 years: 3.1 - 4.6
A low level of albumin in the blood may be an indication of kidney diseases such as nephrotic syndrome or liver diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.
Decreased albumin in the blood may also happen when our bodies do not get or absorb enough nutrients, such as with:
- After surgery weight loss
- Crohns disease
- Low-protein diet
- Celiac disease
- Higher than normal albumin levels may be a sign of dehydration, which may be caused by severe diarrhea or other conditions.
- Higher albumin levels may be caused by acute infections, burns, and stress from surgery or a heart attack.
- Certain medicines can raise your albumin levels. These include insulin, steroids, and hormones.
- If your albumin levels are not in the normal range, it doesn't always mean you have a medical condition that needs treatment. Certain medicines, including steroids, insulin, and hormones, can increase albumin levels.
- Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.
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