Normal albumin levels are indicative that a person’s liver is functioning well. It is a good marker that the liver is in top form and there are no health issues related to this particular organ in the body. Keeping albumin levels within the normal range is very important because having an abnormal amount of albumin is not good for the body as it impairs the body from doing important tasks which may lead to serious medical conditions.
A person can find out whether he or she has normal albumin levels through a simple albumin test. The test is used by physicians to rule out underlying medical conditions that result in decreased albumin levels and tailor appropriate treatment methods.
- 1 What is albumin?
- 2 How important is it to maintain normal albumin levels?
- 3 What is the normal range of albumin?
- 4 What does an abnormal albumin level indicate?
- 5 When do normal albumin levels become abnormal?
- 6 What are the signs and symptoms of abnormal albumin levels?
- 7 How to keep the albumin levels within the normal range
What is albumin?
Albumin is a water-soluble protein which is produced in the liver that plays a vital role in fulfilling normal bodily functions. It is one of the most important types of proteins in the body whose function is to carry fats into muscle tissues as well as transport other substances like drugs and hormones into the blood. Albumin is also important for osmosis regulation – the process of diffusing molecules into semi-permeable membranes. It is also crucial in binding blood components to ensure that the blood fluids remain intact and do not seep out to the tissues.
How important is it to maintain normal albumin levels?
It is extremely important to maintain normal albumin levels as too much or too little may mean that something is wrong inside the body. Keeping albumin levels within the normal range is conducive for healthy living. Normal albumin levels are important in:
- Preventing blood from leaking out of the blood vessel.
- Tissue growth and healing from injury.
- Dissemination of substances throughout the body such as hormones, medications and drugs.
- Carrying fatty acids to muscle cells.
The Albumin test is done not just to check whether a person has normal albumin levels but also to evaluate the liver function. It is often carried out with the BUN and creatinine tests when assessing kidney function.
What is the normal range of albumin?
Albumin can be detected in the blood and urine. The normal range of albumin in the blood should be between 3.4 g/dL and 5.4 g/dL. On the other hand, the normal level of albumin in urine should not exceed 0 to 8 mg/dL. There might be slight differences between the standard values among laboratories, and so it is important to have the requesting physician explain what the albumin test result mean.
What does an abnormal albumin level indicate?
The manner in which a person’s albumin level becomes abnormal depends on which spectrum it is found. High or low albumin level is something that requires prompt attention to prevent further complications which may lead to life-threatening conditions.
- High albumin level
This condition should be taken seriously especially when present for a prolonged duration as it strongly indicates kidney dysfunction. This is often referred to as hyperalbuminemia.
- Low albumin level
This particular condition is called hypoalbuminemia which is a red flag for liver problem. Low albumin levels may also point to kidney diseases.
When do normal albumin levels become abnormal?
Normal albumin levels may increase due to the following conditions:
- Severe infection
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Chronic inflammation
- Congestive heart failure
Normal albumin levels may drop due to the following conditions:
- Joint inflammation like arthritis
- Chronic infections like tooth decay and bladder infection
- Low protein diet
- Kidney diseases
- Impaired absorption of protein in the body
- Liver dysfunction
- Crohn’s or celiac disease
What are the signs and symptoms of abnormal albumin levels?
People with high amounts of albumin will manifest symptoms of dehydration as the cells try to balance off the high level of albumin in the blood by drinking more water. On the other hand, people with low quantities of albumin will manifest symptoms of jaundice, fatigue, weight loss and yellowish skin. They may also display symptoms of swelling in the legs or throughout the body, skin disorders, muscle weakness, cramps, loss of appetite, excessive tiredness and swollen abdomen, severe vomiting and nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, constipation or diarrhea and confusion.
How to keep the albumin levels within the normal range
Steps to regain the normal albumin levels depend on the underlying cause. This may involve taking prescribed medications and routine check-ups to monitor the progress. It is also important to avoid the contributing factors to abnormal albumin levels such as drinking alcohol and smoking. To speed up the recovery process, the patient may follow a special diet and take supplements under the recommendation and supervision of the doctor and dietitian.
Normal albumin levels are important indicators that the liver is doing its job well. Medical conditions can disturb the normal level which is why albumin test is required to determine the underlying cause and design the appropriate treatment plan.