November 28, 2022
serum albumin test

Albumin is a protein made by the liver. It is a transparent liquid portion of blood or urine. A test is performed to measure the proteins in it. This test is known as the Serum albumin test. 

How is the test performed? 

To perform the test, a blood or urine sample is needed.

How should you Prepare for the test? 

Your doctor might restrict you or temporarily ask you to stop consuming some medicine that affects the test. The medications which can increase albumin levels are 

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Androgens
  • Growth hormone
  • Insulin

You should not stop your medicines without consulting your doctor. 

How does the test feel?

A needle is inserted into the arm’s veins to draw blood. People may feel moderate pain or a slight prick.  Later it might start throbbing or leave a little bruise, which goes away quickly. 

Why is this test performed?

Albumin helps move small molecules like bilirubin, progesterone, calcium, and medicines through the blood. The Albumin is very important to retain the fluid in the blood and not leak into the tissues. Albumin also keeps the vitamins, hormones, enzymes, and substances flowing in your body. Your doctor will ask you to get this test when they suspect a liver or kidney disease. 

The test is performed to check if your body has enough protein or not and check for any liver or kidney disease.  

Normal results 

The range of your albumin from 3.4 to 5.4 g/dL or 35 to 54 g/L is considered normal. 

The results of the test may vary from one lab to another. You can consult your doctor to assess your result. 

What Abnormal Results Mean 

Below than average level of Albumin may signify 

  • Kidney diseases
  • Hepatitis and cirrhosis are liver diseases. 

A decrease in blood albumin occurs when the body does not get or absorb enough nutrients, which might have caused 

  • The damage in the lining of your small intestine due to gluten intake, known as celiac disease,
  • Inflammation in the digestive tract known as Crohn’s disease,  
  • Low protein in the diet, or, 
  • A condition where the small intestine restricts the nutrients from passing through the body, known as Whipple disease. 

Increased blood albumin occurs when your body is 

  • Dehydrated, or
  • You have High protein in the diet 
  • When someone has water intoxication. Drinking too much water can also cause abnormal Albumin. 

There are a few more conditions when this test is performed, 

  • When you feel a burning sensation all over your body 
  • When there is excessive copper in the body, known as Wilson disease. 

Risks 

When you give your blood sample for the test, very few risks are involved. The blood is extracted from veins or arteries of the body. 

The few risks which are involved in having your blood sample withdrawn are 

  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Too many punctures to find veins
  • Blood clotting (Hematoma)
  • Infection is common when skin is broken. 

When is a serum albumin test needed?

A serum albumin test is done to identify liver function. You need this and other tests or urine tests if your doctor suspects liver or kidney disease. This test also shows an underlying nutritional deficiency, mainly proteins in your diet. 

Symptoms of liver disease are 

  • Bruises
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice ( yellowness of skin and whites of the eyes) 
  • Stool changes; pale-colored stool 
  • Edema; swelling on your legs or belly
  • Unexplained weight loss

Symptoms of kidney disease are

  • Fatigue or Trouble concentrating 
  • Itchy and Dry skin
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Weakness 
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting and Nausea
  • Swelling in ankles, face, and feet 
  • Urine changes (foamy, dark, or bloody)
  • Trouble sleeping

What happens during a serum albumin test?

This test doesn’t take more than a few minutes. A doctor or your provider can do this test in a hospital or any test lab. 

The things you can expect during the test are:

A phlebotomist, the one who draws blood, will use a thin needle to take blood from your vein. 

You’ll feel a little discomfort from the needle while blood is extracted. 

The phlebotomist will fill the tube with blood and then will remove the needle. A bandage will be used on your arm to stop it from bleeding. The bandage may be removed after a few hours.

Can you take a serum albumin test at home?

Testing your Albumin at home is not a very common practice. Few home tests are available to check your urine for albumin. Do consult your health provider before testing your Albumin at home. 

What are the risks of an albumin blood test?

Albumin is a routine test and doesn’t carry any serious risk. You might have a bruise or light bleeding when the needle is in your arm. These symptoms don’t last more than two days.

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