What is Albumin?
Albumin is a protein manufactured by the liver.
WHAT DOES ALBUMIN DO?
Albumin performs many functions including maintaining the "osmotic pressure" that causes fluid to remain within the blood stream instead of leaking out into the tissues.
WHAT CAUSES ALBUMIN TO BE TOO LOW?
Liver disease, kidney disease, and malnutrition are the major causes of low albumin. A diseased liver produces insufficient albumin. Diseased kidneys sometimes lose large amounts of albumin into the urine faster than the liver can produce it (this is termed nephrotic syndrome). In malnutrition there is not enough protein in the patient's diet for the liver to make new albumin from.
WHAT IS THE NORMAL LEVEL OF ALBUMIN?
The normal value depends on the laboratory running the test. Most labs consider roughly 3.5 to 5 grams per deciliter to be normal.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY ALBUMIN GETS TOO LOW?
In a healthy person with normal nutrition, the liver will simply manufacture more and the level will normalize. If albumin gets very low swelling can occur in the ankles (edema) and fluid can begin to accumulte in the abdomen (ascites) and in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR ALBUMIN HIGHER?
The person must return to health. Therefore the underlying disorder must be corrected. If the disorder is cirrhosis of the liver, the only way to correct low albumin is generally to have a liver transplant.
Albumin levels are also dependant on the state of hydration of the body. A person that is deficient of water ("dry") because of dehydration will have an artificially low albumin level. This returns to normal when the dehydration is corrected. Albumin fluctuates so widely because it is very sensitive to changes in hydration of the body.
Some of our most commonly asked questions and our answers to them.
Learn about the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
Information about the transmission of Hepatitis C.
You'll find links to a comprehensive symptoms list, as well as various studies and discussions about Hepatitis C symptoms.
Learn about the conventional medical treatments used to fight Hepatitis C.
Numerous links to studies, info sheets, FAQs, and analysis of Ribavirin/Rebetron medicines.
Alternative methods of treatment due to side effects and dissatisfication with current medical treatments.
A number of herbal products useful in the management of liver disease.
Receive the latest news on hepatitis treatments, clinical trials, social issues and important breakthroughs.
Learn about Hepatitis C Genotypes and their variants.
A state-by-state and worldwide reference listing physicians who treat HCV, including an email link to submit your physician for inclusion.
Convenient links to other sites external to Hepatitis-Central.
A Bulletin Board for discussions on hepatitis, treatments, etc.
An easy way to get involved in urging our government to do more for Hepatitis C awareness and treatment research.
Numerous links to various Hepatitis B related information, including transmission, symptoms and treatment.
A comprehensive resource of information relating to the liver biopsy.
Many discussions and analyses of cirrhosis, including causes, complications, pathology, symptoms, and much more.
Commonly used medical terms and definitions.
What they are and what they mean. Helps you interpret & understand all the various hepatitis lab tests likely to be encountered.
Liver Cancer/Hepatocellular Carcinoma studies, info sheets, FAQs, and analysis.
An exhaustive list of links to studies, info sheets, FAQs, and analysis of the various drugs used to treat liver disease.
Provides information regarding the best known liver supporting supplements.
Provides information regarding the best known milk thistle supplements.
Provides detailed information on how to analyze and interpret viral load numbers as well as a link to a convenient Viral Load Chart.
Learn more about various Hepatitis C related topics, including HCV, Ascites, Biopsies, and much more.
Recommended reading for those interested in hepatitis information.