Albumin

Albumin is a protein. It is the most abundant protein in human blood. It carries hormones, vitamins, drugs, minerals throughout the body.

Albumin is produced in the liver. Any liver damage results in changes in the levels of albumin.

Low levels of albumin levels may suggest liver disease. A full liver function test is required to determine which type of liver disease may be present.

Low albumin levels may point to diseases in which the kidneys cannot prevent albumin from leaking from the blood into the urine and being lost (nephrotic syndrome). In this case, the amount of albumin (or protein) in the urine also may be measured.

Low albumin levels may also suggest conditions that are associated with some malabsorption syndrome. Malabsorption syndromes are conditions in which your body does not properly absorb and digest protein such as Crohn’s disease or in which large volumes of protein are lost from the intestine with diarrhoea. Similarly, low albumin may be seen in some patients with severe malnutrition due to physical causes or eating disorders.

Other reasons for a low albumin level include inflammation and burns due to loss and a higher need for it during those processes. 

Albumin may be low during pregnancy.  This is a normal finding and does not indicate the presence of any disease.

High levels of albumin usually mean dehydration although the test is not used for this purpose. Dehydration can be easily ascertained by physical examination.

Albumin test is useful to identify liver or kidney disease or to evaluate nutritional status, especially in patients with complex conditions.

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