Last Updated October 23rd, 2019
What is Albumin Test?
Albumin test or blood serum test is a liver function test that measures the amount of the protein Albumin in the blood. The Albumin test is also used to measure the amount of the protein in your urine.
What is Albumin?
Albumin is a protein that is produced by the liver. It flows abundantly in the blood and maintains the liquid balance in the blood. The protein prevents leakage of fluid from the blood vessels. It also helps in carrying important nutrients and vitamins throughout the blood vessels. The serum also helps in the repair and growth of body tissues.
A low level of Albumin indicates dysfunction of liver and kidneys as well as a nutritional deficiency in the body.
Why do I need an Albumin test?
Your doctor may ask you to do an Albumin test if he suspects your liver or kidneys are not functioning properly. Generally, if your kidneys fail to function properly, the protein albumin is released in the urine which results in a low Albumin level.
Your doctor may also ask you to do the test as part of a metabolic panel that includes several other levels like creatinine, albumin, etc. This test is often ordered as a part of routine checkups along with other liver function tests.
When do I need to do an Albumin test?
Your doctor or health care provider may order an Albumin test if you are exhibiting the following symptoms of liver and kidney diseases:
– Jaundice accompanied by yellowish skin and eyes.
– Sudden weight loss.
– Loss of appetite.
– Pale-colored stool.
– Dark urine.
– Swelling around the legs, thighs, abdomen, eyes, and face.
– Frequent urination especially during the night.
– Blood in the urine.
– Foamy or coffee-colored urine.
– Itching in the skin.
Your doctor may also prescribe the test to diagnose chronic pancreatitis.
What preparations do I need before the Albumin test?
A serum Albumin blood test is very simple, and it does not require any specific preparation. However, you need to inform your doctor if you are taking certain medications. Your doctor may ask you to lower the dosage of certain medications or completely stop taking them a few days before the test. Those medications are:
– Growth Hormones
– Anabolic steroids
Patients are advised to take medical advice before altering medications or changing the dosages.
Do I need to fast before the Albumin test?
If you are doing other blood tests along with your Albumin test, your health care provider may ask you to fast before the test. You may be asked not to eat or drink anything a few hours before the test.
How is the Albumin test performed?
The Albumin test is performed by drawing a blood sample from the vein of your arm. The following steps will help you understand how the test is performed.
– During the test, you will be asked to sit in a comfortable position.
– The technician will then find a patch on your skin and clean the site with an antiseptic swab.
– He will then tie an elastic band around the arm. This will swell up the vein and make it easier to draw the blood.
– Once the vein is found, your technician will insert a needle with a vial and draw the required amount of blood for the test.
– Once the vial is full, the needle is removed.
– The puncture site is then cleaned with a cotton swab and a band-aid is applied to stop bleeding.
The blood sample is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
How long does it take to perform the Albumin test?
The test will be completed within a few minutes.
Is there any risk associated with the Albumin test?
There is little or no risk to the Albumin test. You may feel slight pain when the blood is drawn and there may be bruising in the area of the puncture site. The bruising goes away after a few days.
However, some people may experience few side effects after the test, and they are advised to immediately contact a medical practitioner and seek advice. Few side effects of Albumin test include:
– Persistent bruising or bleeding in and around the site of the puncture.
– Infection in the puncture site.
– Fainting or lightheadedness.
– Hematoma or accumulation of blood under the skin.
It is to be noted that people who have certain medical conditions or suffer from clotting disorder may experience excessive bleeding or side effects. Blood thinners may also cause excessive bleeding.
When will I get the results of my Albumin test?
You will get your test results within a few hours or it may take a day.
What is the cost of the Albumin test in India?
The average cost of the Albumin test is India may vary from INR 70 to INR 250 depending on the city, quality, availability, and laboratory performing the test.
What is the normal range of Albumin?
This is a chart depiction of the normal range of Albumin for both male and a female.
|Albumin||M/F||All age groups||3.4 to 5.4 g/dL or 34-54 g/L|
The normal range of serum Albumin is between 3.4 to 5.4 g/dL. If your reading is less or more than that, you must seek the advice of your medical practitioner immediately. The test results may vary slightly depending on the laboratory performing the test. Your health provider will explain to you the meaning of your test results.
What does abnormal Albumin test results mean?
Abnormal test results indicate that your Albumin range is either lower or higher than the normal range as mentioned in the above chart. If your Albumin level is lower than the normal range, then it indicates any of the following medical conditions:
– Liver disease.
– Cirrhosis of the liver.
– Kidney disease.
– Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.
– Infection or inflammation.
– Thyroid disease.
– Hepatocellular necrosis.
– Crohn’s disease.
– Celiac disease.
– Nephrotic syndrome.
Sometimes, your Albumin level may be abnormal not for any medical condition or due to the intake of drugs like insulin, hormones, birth control pills, etc.
Your test results may also vary during pregnancy or if you are taking any intravenous liquids. It is always advised to seek the advice of a medical practitioner who will explain to you the test results and set out the next course of treatment.
Can pregnancy affect Albumin levels?
Yes, Albumin levels can be low during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. This is due to the high alpha-fetoprotein levels during pregnancy. Chart of serum Albumin level in a pregnant woman.
|Pregnancy stage||First Trimester||Second Trimester||Third Trimester|
|Range||3.1-5.1 g/dL||2.6-4.5 g/dL||2.3-4.2 g/dL|
What is the Albumin Urine Test?
An Albumin urine test just like the blood test is conducted to check the amount of Albumin in the urine. When your kidneys are damaged or are not functioning well, the excessive amount of Albumin is released in the urine. This condition is called albuminuria.
On the other hand, if an abnormally small amount of Albumin is released in the urine, it is called microalbuminuria. In such cases, an Albumin urine test is prescribed to assess the condition. An Albumin urine test is done in the following ways:
– Random urine test. A sample of your urine is generally collected during the first time you urinate in the morning.
– Within 24 hours.
– Within 4 hours or overnight.
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