This test measures the amount of prealbumin in the blood. Prealbumin is a protein that is made in the liver and released in the blood. It helps carry certain hormones that regulate the way the body uses energy and other substances through the blood.
When prealbumin levels are lower than normal, it may be a sign of a poor diet (malnutrition). Your doctor may use the results of this test to make changes in your diet. He or she also may use the results to see how well supplements or protein replacement fluids are working.
Other health problems also may cause your levels to drop. You may need another blood test to be sure that a poor diet is the reason for your low prealbumin levels.
A prealbumin blood test is done to:
Before your prealbumin test, tell your doctor if you:
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.
There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.
This test measures the amount of prealbumin in the blood.
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
19–38 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 190–380 milligrams per liter (mg/L)
High prealbumin levels may be caused by:
Low prealbumin levels may be caused by:
You may not be able to have the test or the results may not be helpful if:
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Other Works Consulted
Litchford MD (2012). Clinical: Biochemical assessment. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed., pp. 191–208. St Louis: Saunders.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
January 2, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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