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Albumin is produced by the liver and makes up more than half of proteins in the blood. Albumin levels reflect the amount of water in the bloodstream and they depend mainly on proper liver function, the quality of your diet and gastrointestinal absorption, and proper kidney function to prevent albumin from leaking into the urine.

A low albumin level (hypoalbuminemia) suggests severe liver disease (such as cirrhosis), chronic malnutrition or a gastrointestinal disorder such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease (which prevents absorption of the amino acids needed to synthesize all the proteins). Hypoalbuminemia can also be caused by a loss of proteins through the kidneys (nephrotic syndrome). The urine microalbumin test detects the onset of the problem, particularly in patients with diabetes. Certain conditions such as chronic diseases, cancer, diabetes, hypothyroidism or surgical procedures may be accompanied by hypoalbuminemia. Too much water in the bloodstream (heart failure, sodium imbalance, etc.) can also cause hypoalbuminemia.

High levels of albumin in the blood (hyperalbuminemia) are rarely seen and are always the result of dehydration (not enough water in the blood).

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.