Albumin concentration measurement is used to monitor the nutritional status of the body, the serum osmotic status, and to monitor renal function in cases of proteinuria.
Albumin is one of the two major protein fractions of the blood. Its main functions are the maintenance of osmotic pressure and the transport of bilirubin, fatty acids, drugs, hormones, and other water-insoluble substances. Proteins are normally almost completely absorbed by the kidneys and are not detected in the urine. Therefore, the presence of detectable albumin or protein in the urine is indicative of abnormal renal function.
The decrease in albumin concentration (hypoalbuminemia) is caused by a number of factors such as decreased synthesis due to either liver disease (primary) or reduced protein intake (secondary), increased catabolism as a result of tissue damage and inflammation, malabsorption of amino acids and increased renal excretion (eg nephrotic syndrome).
Very low albumin levels (less than 2.0-2.5 g/dL) may be the cause of edema (eg, nephrotic syndrome, protein loss enteropathies).
Albumin, pro-albumin, and transferrin are considered negative acute-phase proteins, (these proteins are reduced in acute inflammation, in contrast to the increased acute-phase proteins).
What Do Pathological Values Mean?
- Increase: Dehydration, acute pancreatitis.
- Decrease: Acute infection, alcoholism, ascites, atherosclerosis (extensive), beriberi, bone fractures, brucellosis, burns, cholecystitis, cirrhosis, congenital analbuminemia, congestive heart failure, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, dementia, diabetes mellitus, edema, idiopathic hypertension, glomerulonephritis, hemorrhage, hepatitis (viral), hyperthyroidism, infection, liver disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), leukemia, lymphoma, macroglobulinemia, malnutrition, malabsorption syndrome, meningitis, metastatic carcinoma, multiple myeloma, myasthenia gravis, myocardial infarction, neoplasms, nephrosis, nephrotic syndrome, osteomyelitis, peptic ulcer, pneumonia, polyarteritis nodosa, pregnancy, protein-losing enteropathy, rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, scleroderma, sepsis, celiac disease, steatorrhea, stress, stroke, surgery, trauma, tuberculosis, ulcerative colitis, uremia, water poisoning. Medications: ampicillin, asparaginase, fluorouracil, oral contraceptives.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.