Overview of Albumin

  • A physician orders a blood albumin test (usually along with several other tests) if a person seems to have symptoms of a liver disorder or nephrotic syndrome.
  • Doctors may also order blood albumin tests when they want to check a person’s nutritional status, for example, when someone has lost a lot of weight.
  • Low albumin levels can suggest liver disease. Other liver enzyme tests are ordered to determine exactly which type of liver disease.
  • Low albumin levels can reflect diseases in which the kidneys cannot prevent albumin from leaking from the blood into the urine and being lost. In this case, the amount of albumin (or protein) in the urine also may be measured. 
  • Low albumin levels can also be seen in inflammation, shock, and malnutrition.
  • Low albumin levels may also suggest conditions in which your body does not properly absorb and digest protein (like Crohn’s disease or sprue) or in which large volumes of protein are lost from the intestines.
  • High albumin levels usually reflect dehydration.

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