This is a blood test to measure the levels of protein in your body. Your liver makes most of the proteins that are found in your blood. Albumin is one major type of protein. Albumin carries many other substances around your system, including medications and products your body makes. Another kind of protein called globulin has other functions in your body.
This test provides information about the amount of albumin you have compared with globulin, a comparison called the A/G ratio. This test is useful when your doctor suspects you have liver disease.
You may need this test to determine whether you have liver disease, such as cirrhosis. Symptoms of cirrhosis include:
Fluid buildup in the abdomen, which causes abdominal pain and swelling
Nausea and vomiting
Lack of appetite
Spiderlike blood vessels on the skin
This test can also help doctors diagnose nephrotic syndrome, a condition that affects your kidneys. In adults, this problem may be caused by diabetes. Nephrotic syndrome causes puffiness around your eyes and in your arms and legs and too much protein loss in your urine. Protein testing may also show abnormal results if you have a problem that causes you to lose protein from your digestive tract.
Depending on your symptoms, you may also have blood and urine tests.
Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health care provider.
Certain diseases tend to lower your level of albumin and raise your level of one or more types of globulins. A normal range of albumin is 39 to 51 grams per liter (g/L) of blood. The normal range for globulins varies by specific type. A normal range for total globulins is 23 to 35 g/L.
The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.
If you are dehydrated, your protein level may appear higher than it is. This effect is also seen with albumin. Making sure you have had enough water before the test will give an accurate result. If the band is placed around your arm for too long during blood collection, this can also make your albumin level seem high.
Tell your doctor about any symptoms you're experiencing. Be sure your doctor knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.