Albumin Blood Test
What is an albumin blood test?
An albumin blood test checks the amount of albumin in your blood. Albumin is a protein in your blood plasma. Your liver makes albumin. Albumin keeps fluid from leaking out of your bloodstream. It also helps vitamins, enzymes, hormones and other substances circulate throughout your body. Your healthcare provider might order an albumin blood test if they think your liver or kidneys aren’t working as they should.
When is an albumin blood test needed?
An albumin blood test is a liver function test. You might need it, in addition to other blood tests or urinalysis (urine test), if you have symptoms of liver disease or kidney disease. Albumin levels can also indicate underlying nutritional deficits, especially decreased protein in your diet.
Symptoms of liver disease may include:
- Dark urine.
- Jaundice (yellow skin or whites of the eyes).
- Loss of appetite.
- Stool changes, like pale-colored stool.
- Edema (swelling) in your belly or legs.
- Unexplained weight loss.
Symptoms of kidney disease may include:
How do I prepare for an albumin blood test?
You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for an albumin blood test. Your healthcare provider may want you to fast (not eat or drink) before the test if you’re having other blood tests in addition to the albumin test. You may also need to stop taking certain medications before the test. Some drugs can affect albumin levels in the blood.
What happens during an albumin blood test?
An albumin blood test is quick and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. You might have the test at a lab, in your healthcare provider’s office or in a hospital.
Here’s what you can expect:
- A phlebotomist uses a thin needle to take blood from a vein in your arm.
- You might feel a pinch or some discomfort from the needle.
- The phlebotomist fills a collection tube with blood and then removes the needle.
- They place a small bandage on your arm, which you can remove in a few hours.
Are there any risks with an albumin blood test?
An albumin blood test is a routine test that doesn’t carry any serious risks. You might notice a bruise, soreness or some light bleeding where the needle went into your arm. These symptoms usually go away within a day or two.
Can I take an albumin test at home?
Home albumin tests aren’t very common. There are some at-home tests that check your urine. Other tests check your blood using a finger prick. Talk to your healthcare provider before trying an at-home albumin test.
Results and Follow-Up
When will I know the results of my albumin blood test?
It might take a few days to get the results of your albumin blood test. Ask your healthcare provider when you can expect your results.
What do albumin blood test results mean?
Normal albumin levels in an adult’s blood range from 3.5 to 5.5 grams per deciliter (g/dL).
Lower-than-normal albumin levels in your blood (hypoalbuminemia) may indicate:
- Inflammation due to sepsis, surgery or another condition.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Kidney disease.
- Liver disease, including cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, liver cancer or hepatitis A, B or C.
- Poor nutrition.
- Thyroid disease.
Higher than normal albumin levels in your blood (hyperalbuminemia) may indicate:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An albumin blood test checks levels of albumin in your blood. Low albumin levels might indicate a problem with your liver, kidneys or other health conditions. High albumin levels are typically the result of dehydration or severe dehydration. The test is very quick and doesn’t carry any serious risks.
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