About the Test
Purpose of the test
The purpose of the test is to evaluate whether you have abnormal levels of albumin in your blood. Levels that are too high or too low can indicate an underlying health problem. Testing for albumin alone or with other measurements can play a role in diagnosing, screening, and monitoring different conditions.
Diagnosis is testing that happens after symptoms have occurred. For example, a doctor may recommend an albumin blood test if you have signs of potential liver disease like jaundice, fatigue, or symptoms of possible kidney disease, such as abnormal urination or unexplained swelling (particularly of the feet and legs).
Screening is a form of testing that tries to identify health conditions before symptoms arise. It is not usually done by measuring albumin alone. Still, albumin may be included with other measurements in a comprehensive metabolic panel or liver panel that may be prescribed during a routine medical check-up as a form of screening.
Monitoring involves testing to see how your condition develops or responds to treatment. Follow-up tests for albumin in the blood may provide information about the severity of the disease and how a condition changes over time.
What does the test measure?
The test measures the total amount of albumin in the blood. Albumin’s biological functions are to keep fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels and to carry substances like hormones, enzymes, and vitamins in the body.
If albumin is included in a panel test, other measurements will be taken using the same blood sample.
When should I get an albumin test?
An albumin blood test may be ordered if you have symptoms that could be caused by a problem affecting your liver or kidneys. Albumin levels alone do not diagnose these types of conditions, but they can provide important information to help your doctor identify the problem.
If you don’t have any signs of liver or kidney problems, it is not typically recommended to test for albumin alone. However, an albumin measurement may be included in panel tests that may be used for medical check-ups. In these tests, like the comprehensive metabolic panel, albumin levels can be interpreted in relation to other measurements.
Your physician can best explain whether and when an albumin blood test is recommended in your specific situation.
Finding an Albumin Blood Test
How can I get an albumin blood test?
An albumin blood test requires a blood sample from a vein in your arm. A health professional typically prescribes the test, and the sample is taken in a doctor’s office, health clinic, hospital, or laboratory.
Can I take the test at home?
Blood tests to measure albumin levels alone are not currently available as an at-home test. Panel tests that include albumin are normally done in a medical setting, but some at-home options exist to measure albumin along with other indicators of liver function. These tests involve collecting a drop of blood from your fingertip, applying it to a test strip, and sending the sample by mail to a laboratory where it can be analyzed.
How much does the test cost?
The cost of an albumin blood test depends on multiple factors, including where you have the test taken, whether other measurements are included, and whether you have medical insurance.
The testing costs may include an office visit, the technician fee for drawing your blood, and the laboratory fee for analyzing your sample. Insurance often covers these costs when your physician prescribes the test. Still, check with your insurance plan for coverage details, including whether you are responsible for a deductible or copay.
Taking an Albumin Blood Test
Testing requires a blood sample that is normally obtained by removing a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. This blood sample can be taken in a doctor’s office or another medical setting.
While at-home tests are far less common, they can be done by pricking your finger to get a drop of blood that can be sent to a lab.
Before the test
Before taking an albumin blood test, tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking. Some types of drugs can affect albumin levels, and your doctor can tell you if it is necessary to adjust your medications before the test.
If only albumin is being measured, you do not need to fast before your blood is drawn. When albumin is measured as part of a panel test, you may need to avoid eating or drinking any beverages besides water for 12 hours or more beforehand.
Check with your physician ahead of time to find out exactly which test you are having and any required preparation. If the doctor mentions any test preparation, follow those instructions carefully.
With at-home tests, it is essential to carefully read all the instructions before taking the test to ensure that you prepare your sample correctly.
During the test
The test procedure involves removing a small vial of blood from a vein in your arm. You will sit in a chair, and an elastic band will be tied around your upper arm. An antiseptic is used to clean the inside of your arm near your elbow, and a needle will be inserted to withdraw blood.
The entire process normally lasts less than a couple of minutes. There may be minor pain or discomfort when the needle is inserted and removed.
An at-home test kit involves a quick fingerstick to obtain a drop of blood from your fingertip. The blood sample is placed on a strip of test paper and then packaged for delivery to a laboratory.
After the test
A bandage or cotton swab may be used to apply pressure and stop bleeding after your blood has been drawn. There may be light bruising or soreness around the puncture site. You can usually drive and return to normal activities after the test.
A blood draw is a routine procedure with no serious or lasting side effects. Contact your doctor for specific guidance if you notice any severe or persistent effects.
There are few lasting effects after an at-home test with a fingerstick. If your fingertip keeps bleeding after taking the test sample, you can apply pressure with a cotton swab or a bandage.
Albumin Blood Test Results
Receiving test results
Results from an albumin blood test are usually available within a few business days. Your doctor’s office may contact you directly to provide your results, or you may get a test report sent to you electronically or in the mail.
Interpreting test results
Your test report will list your albumin level. Albumin is measured in grams per deciliter (g/dL) of blood. If other measurements were taken in a panel test, you would see separate line items for each of those measurements on your test report.
A typical reference range for normal albumin levels is 3.5 to 5.5 g/dL. Reference ranges can vary by laboratory, so it is important to look closely at your test report to see if a different range is listed.
Albumin levels above or below the reference range may reflect an underlying health concern. Low levels can be caused by conditions that affect the liver’s normal function and ability to synthesize albumin or excessive loss of albumin through the kidneys.
Albumin persists in the blood for several weeks, so recent, short-term liver health issues that decrease albumin production may not be detected. Decreased albumin levels are more frequently associated with chronic conditions affecting the liver, like cirrhosis.
Although albumin is produced in the liver, abnormally low levels can also be tied to kidney conditions, malnutrition, inflammation, infection, thyroid disease, and gastrointestinal problems. Abnormally high albumin levels most often occur due to dehydration, which may be caused by other conditions such as severe diarrhea.
Doctors often interpret the significance of albumin levels alongside measurements of other indicators of metabolism and the health of the liver and kidneys. Seeing which measurements are normal and abnormal can help reveal patterns in your results that may reveal the most likely cause of the test’s findings.
Your physician is best able to describe your test results and review what they may mean for your health, as well as whether any other tests are appropriate as a follow-up.
As you review your test results with your physician, some of the following questions may help you better understand your situation and the significance of your albumin level:
- Was my albumin level normal or abnormal? If it was abnormal, was it high or low?
- Were any other measurements taken along with albumin? What can you learn from those levels?
- What is the most likely explanation for my test result?
- Are there any follow-up tests that you recommend? What are the pros and cons of those tests?
A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Albumin Blood (Serum) Test. Updated January 24, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003480.htm.
American Board of Internal Medicine. ABIM Laboratory Test Reference Ranges. Updated January 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.abim.org/Media/bfijryql/laboratory-reference-ranges.pdf
Collins N. The Difference Between Albumin and Prealbumin. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2001;14(5):235-236. doi:10.1097/00129334-200109000-00009
Darwish A, Lui F. Physiology, Colloid Osmotic Pressure. In: StatPearls. Updated May 15, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541067/
Friedman LS. Approach to the Patient With Abnormal Liver Biochemical and Function Tests. In: Chopra S, ed. UpToDate. Updated April 5, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/approach-to-the-patient-with-abnormal-liver-biochemical-and-function-tests
Friedman LS. Tests of the Liver’s Biosynthetic Capacity (e.g., Albumin, Coagulation Factors, Prothrombin Time). In: Chopra S, ed. UpToDate. Updated March 15, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/tests-of-the-livers-biosynthetic-capacity-eg-albumin-coagulation-factors-prothrombin-time
Kwo PY, Cohen SM, Lim JK. ACG Clinical Guideline: Evaluation of Abnormal Liver Chemistries. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017;112(1):18-35. doi:10.1038/ajg.2016.517
Lewis III JL. Volume Depletion. Merck Manual Professional Edition. Updated September 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/fluid-metabolism/volume-depletion
Lindenmeyer CC. Laboratory Tests of the Liver and Gallbladder. Merck Manual Professional Edition. Updated September 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/testing-for-hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/laboratory-tests-of-the-liver-and-gallbladder
MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine. Albumin Blood Test. Updated June 7, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/albumin-blood-test/
MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP). Updated September 9, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/comprehensive-metabolic-panel-cmp/
MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine. Prealbumin Blood Test. Updated August 22, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/prealbumin-blood-test/
Moman RN, Gupta N, Varacallo M. Physiology, Albumin. In: StatPearls. Updated January 4, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459198/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Albuminuria: Albumin in the Urine. Updated October 2016. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/tests-diagnosis/albuminuria-albumin-urine
Park JM, Do VQ, Seo YS, et al. Application of Fisetin to the Quantitation of Serum Albumin. J Clin Med. 2020;9(2):459. Published 2020 Feb 7. doi:10.3390/jcm9020459
Phillips SM, Jensen C. Laboratory and Radiologic Evaluation of Nutritional Status in Children. In: Motil KJ, ed. UpToDate. Updated February 3, 2022. Accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/laboratory-and-radiologic-evaluation-of-nutritional-status-in-children
This test measures the amount of the protein albumin in your blood. Your liver makes albumin. Albumin carries substances such as hormones, medicines, and enzymes throughout your body. This test can help diagnose, evaluate, and watch kidney and liver conditions.What is the normal range for albumin blood test? ›
The normal range is 3.4 to 5.4 g/dL (34 to 54 g/L). Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.
An albumin blood test checks your liver and kidney function. Albumin is protein in your blood plasma. Low albumin levels might be the result of kidney disease, liver disease, inflammation or infections. High albumin levels are usually the result of dehydration or severe diarrhea.What level of albumin creatinine indicates kidney failure? ›
What does the uACR test result mean? A normal amount of albumin in your urine is less than 30 mg/g. Anything above 30 mg/g may mean you have kidney disease, even if your estimated glomerular filtration (eGFR) number is above 60.Why would a doctor order an albumin test? ›
An albumin blood test is used to check your general health and to see how well your liver and kidneys are working. If your liver is damaged or you're not well nourished, your liver may not make enough albumin. If your kidneys are damaged, they may let too much albumin leave your body in urine (pee).What would happen if a person had a low level of albumin in their blood? ›
When albumin levels are low, the blood may not be able to transport essential materials, such as hormones, effectively. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including fatigue, jaundice, and fluid retention. Albumin binds substances, including hormones and some drugs, to help them travel through the body.What level of albumin indicates liver failure? ›
The most common reason for a low albumin is chronic liver failure caused by cirrhosis. The serum albumin concentration is usually normal in chronic liver disease until cirrhosis and significant liver damage has occurred. In advanced liver disease, the serum albumin level may be less than 3.5 g/dl.How do you fix albumin levels? ›
Taking vitamins (vitamin D) and eating a well-balanced diet full of protein like lean meats, fish, nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.) and eggs, along with dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) and whole-grain carbohydrates (bread and rice) can increase the amount of albumin your body produces.Will drinking water reduce protein in blood? ›
No, drinking more water won't treat proteinuria. Drinking more water will make you pee more, so there may be less protein every time you pee, but it won't stop your kidneys from leaking protein.Does high albumin mean diabetes? ›
Although very small amounts of protein in urine can be normal, high levels of albumin is one of several indicators of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a common complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Having albumin in your urine can be a sign of kidney disease, even if your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is above 60 or “normal”. Albuminuria (proteinuria) is not a separate disease. It is a symptom of many different types of kidney disease and a significant risk factor for complications.What should you avoid if your albumin is high? ›
Use fresh meat products and avoid pre-made roasted chicken and other processed meats, which often contain large amounts of sodium and phosphorus. This excess sodium and phosphorus isn't good for patients with chronic kidney disease.What are the first signs of kidney problems? ›
- weight loss and poor appetite.
- swollen ankles, feet or hands – as a result of water retention (oedema)
- shortness of breath.
- blood in your pee (urine)
- an increased need to pee – particularly at night.
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- itchy skin.
When your kidneys are failing, a high concentration and accumulation of substances lead to brown, red, or purple urine. Studies suggest the urine color is due to abnormal protein or sugar as well as high numbers of cellular casts and red and white blood cells.What medications can cause high albumin creatinine ratio? ›
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors like lisinopril)
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs like losartan)
- Other blood pressure medications.
- Medications for diabetes if needed (like metformin)8.
Low serum albumin levels are, therefore, an indicator of the severity of inflammation. Preexisting inflammation is an important factor interfering with the success of medical and surgical treatment, diminishing the adequacy of the response to trauma and disease and reducing quality of life and longevity.Should I be worried about high protein in blood? ›
No, you shouldn't worry about a test result that shows your blood protein is higher than normal. Your test result doesn't necessarily mean you have a serious illness. If your blood protein level is unusually high, your healthcare provider may order additional blood tests to get more information.Can drinking too much water affect blood tests? ›
Water does not affect the results of a blood test and is acceptable to drink when a person needs to fast.What cancers cause low albumin? ›
Problems with your stomach - including inflammatory bowel disease, or lymphoma, can cause hypoalbuminemia. Other forms of cancer or conditions- such as sarcoma or amyloidosis - can cause hypoalbuminemia.What organs would be affected by low albumin levels? ›
Albumin is synthesized in the liver, and low serum albumin can be indicative of liver failure or diseases such as cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis. If present, hypoalbuminemia is generally considered to be a sign of advanced hepatic cirrhosis, or irreversible damage to the liver.
The differential diagnosis for the causes of hypoalbuminemia is wide and includes diseases affecting albumin production, for example, cirrhosis, albumin and protein absorption, for example, PLE, albumin loss via kidneys, for example, nephrotic syndrome, and increased catabolism that may occur in critically ill patients ...Does low albumin mean kidney failure? ›
Why does a low serum albumin increase the risk for reaching kidney failure? Many studies have shown that chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with a low serum albumin have an increased risk for reaching kidney failure as compared to patients with a normal serum albumin.Does fatty liver cause low albumin? ›
Decline in serum albumin concentration is a predictor of serious events in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.What level of albumin indicates cirrhosis? ›
With liver cirrhosis, the serum albumin value (reference range: 3.8 to 5.1g/dL) decreases by an average of 0.15g/dL per year, and for the patients with a low serum albumin value (less than 3.5g/dL), the 5-year survival rate drops considerably.What vitamin deficiency causes low albumin? ›
Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in reduced serum albumin concentrations in patients with end-stage renal disease.What medication is used for low albumin? ›
They may treat the underlying condition causing inflammation. If you have a kidney condition, blood pressure medications can help keep you from passing albumin out through your urine. This can reduce your symptoms. Common medications include captopril (Capoten) and benazepril (Lotensin).Can low albumin cause death? ›
found that admission albumin level, serum albumin trend and lowest serum albumin were significant predictors of mortality in ICU patients with sepsis. The probability of survival decreased by 63.4% when admission serum albumin was ≤24.5 g/L, and by 76.4% when the lowest serum albumin was ≤14.5 g/L.What does protein in urine look like? ›
Foamy, frothy or bubbly urine.What is the best water for kidneys? ›
Pure, naturally-filtered water is the best thing you can drink for good kidney health. And installing a cost-effective, energy-efficient, and convenient bottled water cooler can be the best way to get it.What is the best water to drink? ›
Mineral, structured, and pure spring water are some of the healthiest water you can drink because they're clean and contain all the essential minerals your body needs. Filtered water removes contaminants but might also remove essential minerals.
Higher urinary albumin excretion predicts future cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease. Physical activity improves endothelial function so activity may reduce albuminuria. Among diabetics, physical activity decreases albuminuria.Can high albumin levels be reversed? ›
Yes, your level of albumin may return to normal after you get treatment and may stay at a normal level for years. If you start treatment and make lifestyle changes straight away, you'll have a better chance of reversing any damage to your kidneys from microalbuminuria, or at least slow down its progression.Does blood sugar affect albumin? ›
In diabetes, albumin synthesis and secretion is decreased due to insulin deficiency. Therefore, it is expected that albumin levels decrease in diabetes and may affect plasma protein glycation and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is a measure of high Glucose levels.Why is my pee foamy? ›
Foamy urine is a sign of protein in the urine, which is not normal. “Kidneys filter the protein, but should keep it in the body,” explains Dr. Ghossein. If kidneys are releasing protein into the urine, they are not working properly.What are the 5 functions of albumin? ›
Albumin is one of the most important proteins in the body because of its role in maintenance of COP, substrate transport, buffering capacity, free radical scavenging, coagulation, and wound healing.What if albumin and creatinine is high? ›
A very high ACR level indicates more severe kidney disease. A very low ACR value probably means your kidneys are functioning normally. If diabetes is well managed, it's easier to control or prevent complications developing, such as high blood pressure, which can sometimes lead to kidney disease.What is the treatment for high albumin? ›
How can albuminuria be reduced? You may be able to reduce the amount of albumin in your urine by taking medicines that lower blood pressure called ACE inhibitors or ARBs. The names of these medicines end in -pril or -sartan. Meet with a dietitian who can help you plan meals and change your eating habits.What organ affects albumin? ›
Synthesis of albumin takes place in the liver, after which it is excreted into the bloodstream. Albumin can be found in the bloodstream, interstitial space, as well as other fluids. When found in other fluids in large concentrations, such as in ascites or urine, it is often an indication of underlying pathology.Can drinking too much water affect albumin levels? ›
Drinking too much water (water intoxication) may also cause abnormal albumin results. Other conditions for which the test may be performed: Burns (widespread) Wilson disease (condition in which there is too much copper in the body)Does high albumin mean kidney failure? ›
If your test shows high levels of urine albumin, or a rise in urine albumin, it could mean you have kidney damage or disease. If you have diabetes, one possible cause of an increased urine albumin is kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy).
You may be able to reduce the amount of albumin in your urine by taking medicines that lower blood pressure called ACE inhibitors or ARBs. The names of these medicines end in -pril or -sartan. Meet with a dietitian who can help you plan meals and change your eating habits.What infections cause high albumin? ›
Viral infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS. Blood cancers such as multiple myeloma or certain types of lymphoma. Severe liver or kidney disease.Will drinking water reduce protein in urine? ›
Can drinking water reduce protein in urine? No, drinking more water won't treat proteinuria. Drinking more water will make you pee more, so there may be less protein every time you pee, but it won't stop your kidneys from leaking protein.What organ regulates albumin? ›
Organ Systems Involved
Synthesis of albumin takes place in the liver, after which it is excreted into the bloodstream. Albumin can be found in the bloodstream, interstitial space, as well as other fluids.
Albumin is a simple protein present both in animal and plant physiological fluids and tissues. It plays many important roles including maintenance of appropriate osmotic pressure, binding and transport of various substances like hormones, drugs etc. in blood, and neutralisation of free radicals.What are two major functions of albumin? ›
1. The main purpose of albumin is to produce and control oncotic pressure. 2. It is the main transporter plasma protein; since it interacts with the ligands to transport them, either endogenous ligands (such as bilirubin and fatty acids) or exogenous ligands.How do I get my albumin levels back to normal? ›
Taking vitamins (vitamin D) and eating a well-balanced diet full of protein like lean meats, fish, nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.) and eggs, along with dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese) and whole-grain carbohydrates (bread and rice) can increase the amount of albumin your body produces.What fruit helps kidneys? ›
Pineapple, cranberries, red grapes, and apples are all kidney-friendly fruits with anti-inflammatory properties.