Albumin is a protein made by your liver that helps your body grow and repair. It helps carry vital nutrients and hormones around your body. It also prevents fluid from leaking out of your blood vessels and into other tissues. An albumin test is a good overall indicator of your liver and kidney health.
What’s a serum albumin blood test?
A serum albumin test checks how well your liver and kidneys are working by measuring how much albumin you have in your blood. If your kidney(s) is damaged, you might lose protein through your pee.
A serum albumin test is typically measured with other health markers — like alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), globulin, bilirubin, total protein, and gamma-GT (GGT).
An albumin test on its own can’t diagnose a condition. Your GP will consider any previous blood test results, your lifestyle, and medical history to make a diagnosis.
You can check your albumin levels as part of a liver blood test.
What’s the normal range for albumin?
The normal range for albumin is 35-50 g/L.
Our NHS-registered GPs explain your results in your online report when you do a liver blood test.
What causes low albumin (hypoalbuminaemia)?
Many things can cause low albumin levels. These include:
- Ascites — when too much fluid builds up in your abdomen
- Extensive burns — albumin is lost due to fluid shifts in your body
- Liver disease
- Jaundice — when your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow
- Kidney diseases — like nephrotic syndrome and glomerulonephritis
- Weight loss surgery
- Coeliac disease
- Crohn's disease
- Whipple’s disease — a bacterial infection affecting your joints and digestive system
- Sepsis — your body attacks itself as your immune system fights off an infection
- Heart failure
- Kwashiorkor — a severe form of malnutrition resulting from a lack of nutrients in your diet
- Liver cirrhosis
An albumin test might be useful if you experience these symptoms and can help rule out other conditions. If you have abnormal albumin levels, finding out the underlying cause and treating the problem is the best course of action.
What causes high albumin (hyperalbuminemia)?
High levels of albumin in your blood can be caused by dehydration — this can result from diarrhoea. It may also be caused by certain medications — like insulin and steroids.