Albumin TestDr. Abhishtita MudunuriLast Updated on 9th February 2022
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What is the Albumin test used for?
The albumin test provides information about the patient’s liver health. Usually, this test is part of liver function tests. Other tests that can assess the functions of the liver, like liver enzymes or bilirubin, are advised along with it. A doctor will typically request an albumin blood test if the patient is displaying signs of liver or kidney disease or has a poor nutritional status.
A healthy liver converts the protein that a person consumes into albumin. When the liver isn’t working properly, this process slows down, which can lead to a drop in albumin levels. As part of a metabolic panel, a doctor will often request an albumin test.
What is included in the Albumin test?
A metabolic panel consists of multiple tests that look at the levels of:
- blood urea nitrogen
If you have signs of liver disease or other liver disorders, your doctor would most likely advise a serum albumin test. When one or more of the following symptoms are present, your doctor may request a test:
- If the patient has swollen feet or eyes or generalized swelling or yellowness all over the body, eyes, i.e., jaundice
- Rapid weight loss
- Unexplained fatigue
- Dark-coloured urine
Apart from these, if there is a suspicion that the kidneys of the patient are not functioning properly or the digestion of the patient is not normal, the serum albumin test may prove helpful.
Procedure for Albumin test
Just like any other blood test, while taking a sample for the albumin test, your phlebotomist will:
- Clean your skin with an alcohol swab or an antiseptic wipe.
- Then, put a tight band around your upper arm, forcing your veins to bulge with blood.
- Once a vein is located, the phlebotomist inserts a needle linked to a vial and takes blood.
- In the last step, your blood sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing.
How to prepare for the Albumin test?
This test does not need any additional preparation and samples may be collected at any time of the day. Usually, morning samples are preferred. Before the test, you may eat and drink as usual and take some rest.
There are certain things that you must avoid on the day of blood testing:
- Prior to your test, avoid any strenuous physical activity or stress.
- Do not smoke one hour before the test.
- During the menstrual cycle, women’s hormones change, and these fluctuations might affect the results. As a result, the cycle phase must be known and the doctor’s suggestions must be followed.
Things to consider after the Albumin test is complete
Since the blood samples are collected at home and not in the lab, you may get back to work or take some rest immediately after the test. The phlebotomist will inform you when the results will be delivered. Usually, it takes 24-48 hours.
If you have a history of dizziness after blood testing, you should probably wait for a while before driving alone or taking public transportation to reach somewhere.
Also, blood tests might cause a couple of minor side effects. However, they normally go away after a few minutes or hours:
- A slight amount of bruising or swelling at the location of the blood draw
- Slight stinging
A blood draw is a regular procedure that has no dangerous or long-term consequences. If you notice any severe or long-lasting side effects, see your doctor for special guidance.
How much does the Albumin test cost?
The cost of an albumin test varies from Rs 120 to Rs 150. However, the albumin test prices are found to be on the lower side on average, making it fairly affordable to a wide portion of the population.
MFine also provides packages that include many tests, and this combo package is less expensive than the individual tests put together.
*Disclaimer: The value varies based on location, time, and your preferred lab partner.
How long does it take to get the results for the albumin test?
You can expect to get the results for the albumin test within 24 to 48 hours after the sample is collected. However, in certain cases, depending on the location, medical advice, and preferred lab partner, it may take longer.
What do abnormal Albumin test results indicate?
The normal lab reference range for albumin is 3.5 to 5.5 grams per deciliter.
Low Albumin levels (<3.5 g/dL) mean?
Low albumin levels in the blood may indicate malnutrition, liver disease, or inflammatory disease. This makes sense because albumin is made by the liver, so if the liver isn’t working properly, its ability to synthesize or make albumin is compromised.
Thus, hypoalbuminemia (low albumin level) is a common finding in chronic liver disease. Low albumin levels in the blood can also be seen in conditions like:
- Chronic liver disease due to any cause
- Low-protein diets
- Inflammation of the digestive tract, eg: Crohn’s Disease
- Malabsorption due to any cause
High albumin levels (>5.5 g/dL) mean
This typically means the patient has either:
- High protein diet
- Severe diarrhoea
Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor to interpret the test reports.
Is the Albumin test a definitive test?
Your doctor can use a serum albumin test to see how well your liver is working. If your doctor feels a need to conduct more tests in addition to albumin, he or she may set up a comprehensive metabolic panel that checks your blood for total protein, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, urine routine, urine albumin creatinine ratio, and prealbumin as a part of your regular check-up.
How to read the Albumin test report?
The results are expressed in grams per deciliter (g/dL). Normal albumin levels in the blood range from 3.5 to 5.5 grams per decalitre (g/dL) (or 35 to 55 grams per litre).
However, because different laboratories and hospitals use different metrics and measurements, you should confirm the definite results with the laboratory scientist/technician or your healthcare practitioner.
Your lab test results might be influenced by a variety of factors. These contain the procedure used by each lab to perform the test. Even if your test results deviate from being normal, you might not have a problem. Speak with your healthcare physician to find out what the results mean for you.
Once a cause has been identified, doctors can frequently prescribe a treatment. When a person’s blood albumin levels have been restored to normal, no more tests are required.
Why book an Albumin test?
Albumin is typically included in a liver function test. Your healthcare physician may include an albumin test as a part of a health checkup or as a part of a blood panel to identify a specific underlying health condition. Therefore, physicians will frequently include an albumin test during a routine exam.
The serum albumin test is also performed:
- As a part of the regular check-up
- In case of signs of a liver problem
- In case of kidney disease
- Prior to the planned surgery
- In the case of unintentional weight loss
If your test results point to kidney disease, your doctor will most likely prescribe an eGFR test as well as a urine routine, urine albumin creatinine ratio, urine microalbumin test. The results of these tests will allow him to determine the degree of your kidney disease and devise an appropriate treatment plan.
If your healthcare provider suspects any specific cause based on your tests results, then:
- More tests will be ordered to determine the cause
- Place you on a specific diet
- Initiate treatment based on the suspected or diagnosed the underlying cause
Albumin test at home – how does it work?
The Albumin test is just like any other blood test. A lab technician visits your home when you book your tests through the MFine app. The lab technician first cleans the arm and then inserts a syringe into a vein. The required amount of blood is then taken into a vial. The lab technician then removes the needle and places cotton wool or a bandage over the prick.
Are there any risks involved with the Albumin test?
Because a serum albumin test does not require a significant blood sample, it is regarded as a low-risk procedure. However, if your phlebotomist is unable to find a vein, you may feel discomfort while giving a blood sample. However, symptoms normally subside quickly.
Other risks include:
- Infection at the puncture site.
- Fainting at the sight of blood.
- Excess bleeding from the area where the needle is inserted.
If you have a medical condition that may raise your risk of heavy bleeding, you should always notify your doctor first about it.
What can affect the results of the Albumin test?
Certain medication, procedures, and conditions can affect the albumin test results. Other reasons which may make a difference are:
- Being pregnant: This can lower your albumin levels.
- Serious burns: This may also produce lower than normal albumin levels (hypoalbuminemia).
- Eating a low protein diet: This may also lead to a lower-than-normal level of albumin in your blood.
- Medications: Certain drugs, such as insulin, anabolic steroids, and growth hormones, may impact the test results.
Explain your complete condition to your doctor. Make no adjustments to your medication or dose until instructed to do so by your doctor. Aside from that, you don’t need to do anything more before your test.
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Frequently Asked Questions | FAQs
Is the lab technician coming for the albumin test sample collection vaccinated?
Yes. Our lab technicians are fully vaccinated. Further, they also ensure safety throughout by wearing a mask, gloves and frequently sanitizing themselves during the sample collection.
Does MFine provide the interpretation for the results along with the reports?
Yes, MFine provides the interpretation for the result along with the reports. You can also avail a free medical consultation with a doctor to understand your reports accurately. The doctor will also advise and prescribe medicines, if required, based on the results.
How can I download my albumin lab test report?
Follow these steps:
- Login to MFine
- Go to your profile
- Click on Attachment and Reports
- Click on Lab Report
- Download the report
Are there any discount offers running on the albumin test?
Usually, you can avail of up to 50% discount on the albumin test through MFine. However, the discount and test price may vary based on lab partner and location.
Is albumin a blood or urine test?
Albumin is a protein present in the blood that is produced by the liver. A serum albumin test examines the amount of this protein in the clear liquid component of the blood. Therefore a blood test is often used. A healthy kidney stops albumin from flowing from the blood into the urine. However, sometimes albumin enters the urine as a result of a damaged kidney. Therefore, a urine sample is also a marker to test albumin levels.
What level of albumin in urine indicates kidney failure?
An ACR (Urine albumin to creatinine ratio) determines whether albumin is present in your urine. The quantity of albumin in your urine should be less than 30 mg/g. Anything above 30 mg/g may indicate kidney disease.
What does low albumin mean?
If a patient has a low albumin concentration in the blood, this could suggest liver disease. Low albumin concentrations in the blood can also reflect diseases in which the kidneys cannot prevent albumin from leaking from the blood into the urine and being lost.
What happens if your albumin is high?
Albumin levels that are higher than usual may suggest dehydration. If your albumin levels are not within the normal range, this does not always indicate that you have a medical issue that requires treatment. Certain medications, such as steroids and hormones, might cause an increase in albumin levels.
How serious is albumin in urine?
More albumin may seep into the urine if kidney damage is not addressed in early phases. When the kidneys leak albumin in higher quantities and diagnostic tests prove it, this might indicate that there is a kidney disease that can also lead to chronic disease later.
Disclaimer: The content is uniquely informative and is meant for educational use. Kindly use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified or registered healthcare provider.