Definition of albumin analysis
Albumin is the most abundant protein (60%) in the blood. It is made by hepatocytes (liver cells), but can also come from food (it is found, for example, in egg white or milk).
Albumin plays a major role in maintaining oncotic blood pressure (osmotic pressure due to proteins).
It is also considered the main transport protein in the blood. It carries endogenous and exogenous substances that are small and that alone would be eliminated by the kidneys, including:
- hormones (especially fat-soluble hormones)
- fatty acids
Why do an albumin analysis?
The blood albumin or albuminemia test is prescribed to detect liver or kidney disease. It is also used to check the amount of protein in the blood. The doctor may order an albumin test if he suspects an abnormality in the concentration of certain electrolytes, such as calcium. In the presence of edema, an albumin assay may also be required.
An Albumin blood test is prescribed by a doctor, in the hospital, or during a consultation. The examination consists of drawing venous blood, most of the time at the elbow crease.
Albumin, total protein, and globulin levels are usually measured in parallel.
Albumin levels can also be measured in urine (albuminuria) if necessary.
What results can be expected from an albumin analysis?
The normal level of albumin in the blood should be between 3.4 and 5.4 g/dl (grams per deciliter) in both men and women. Note that normal albumin values may vary slightly depending on the laboratory in which the analysis is performed.
Only a doctor will be able to interpret the results and conclude a diagnosis.
Causes of low albumin levels (hypoalbuminemia) in the blood include:
- kidney damage
- liver disease: cirrhosis, hepatitis, ascites
- undernutrition (insufficient protein intake)
- an inflammatory disease
- situations of loss of body fluid, such as nephrotic syndrome or extensive burns
- excessive excretion by the kidneys
- Exudative enteropathy: an inflammatory disease characterized by intolerance to certain elements such as gluten, a loss by the digestive tract of substances such as proteins or immunoglobulins. Crohn’s disease and iliac disease are among these pathologies.
On the contrary, having a high level of albumin in the blood can be a sign of:
- diabetes insipidus
- Prolonged efforts
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