Hypoalbuminemia is a pathological condition of the body in which the level of albumin in the serum part of the blood decreases below 35 g / l. Hypoalbuminemia is a type of hypoproteinemia in which there is a drop in all blood proteins. Most often, a decrease in the level of albumin in serum leads to nephrotic syndrome, errors in nutrition with developing dystrophy, renal and hepatic failure, sepsis. All these conditions pose a threat to human health and require urgent treatment. Hypoalbuminemia acts as a symptom of such disorders in the body.
- Causes of hypoalbuminemia
- Symptoms of hypoalbuminemia
- Diagnosis of hypoalbuminemia
- Treatment of hypoalbuminemia
Causes of hypoalbuminemia
Hypoalbuminemia develops due to pathological reasons, among which are:
- Inflammatory processes in the body of acute and chronic course. Cancer, vasculitis, parasitic and bacterial infections, bacterial endocarditis, and rheumatism can lead to a decrease in albumin levels.
The level of albumin in the blood decreases in patients who suffer from inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines (ulcerative lesions, colitis, gastritis, enteritis, cancerous tumors, etc.). In addition, the postponed gastric resection leads to a deterioration in the absorption of albumin.
- Albumin deficiency is observed in patients with an abnormal structure of the esophagus.
- With liver damage, the level of albumin always decreases, since it is this organ that is responsible for their production. These include cirrhosis, hepatitis, and any conditions accompanying liver failure.
- Heart failure leads to hypoalbuminemia.
- Nephrotic syndrome is always combined with hypoalbuminemia. It develops in diseases such as glomerulonephritis, amyloidosis, diabetes mellitus.
- If a person adheres to the strictest diets with a sharp restriction of protein foods and during starvation, a drop in the level of albumin in the blood will be observed.
- Extensive soft tissue lesions such as burns and abscesses are one of the causes of albumin deficiency in the blood.
- Renal failure will lead to hypoalbuminemia.
- Massive bleeding causes the development of hypoalbuminemia due to the fact that the protein leaves the body along with the blood.
It is dangerous to follow a diet low in protein for those people who suffer from pancreatitis, gastric ulcer and 12 duodenal ulcer, gout and chronic renal failure. In this case, hypoalbuminemia will develop very quickly, and it will be quite difficult to get rid of it.
Symptoms of hypoalbuminemia
Albumin is the main protein in the blood. Among other plasma proteins, it occupies almost 60%. Albumin is produced in the liver and is responsible for many functions. Thanks to this protein, the volume of circulating blood and its oncotic pressure are maintained. Albumin carries many important substances that allow the body to function normally. He is responsible for the binding of cholesterol, bilirubin, calcium, magnesium. Albumin transports carbohydrates, thyroid and adrenal hormones.
With a decrease in the level of albumin in the blood plasma, those substances that it most often binds and transports remain without their usual carrier. Their blood levels also begin to decrease, but the physiologically active fractions are still able to maintain their normal level for some time. As a result, the first signs of pathology will begin to appear a little later.
It is not surprising that severe hypoalbuminemia is manifested by serious symptoms, including:
- The formation of edema. They occur primarily in the lower extremities. The swelling is soft and symmetrical. They are formed due to a drop in plasma oncotic pressure.
- Changes in the acid-base balance of blood plasma, which is accompanied by multiple disorders in the body, up to the development of coma.
- Heart rhythm disorders.
- Increased weakness.
- Decreased appetite.
- The development of shortness of breath.
- If the fluid, due to a decrease in oncotic pressure, sweats into the abdominal cavity, then the patient develops ascites.
All of these symptoms are associated with the risk of severe complications, therefore, patients with hypoalbuminemia require immediate treatment.
Diagnosis of hypoalbuminemia
Normally, the level of albumin in the blood plasma should vary between 35-55 g / l. This represents 54-65% of all blood proteins. Depending on age, albumin values may vary slightly. Therefore, for children from 7 days to 5 years old, hypoalbuminemia is said to be when the level of this protein drops to 33 g / l. For older people, the lower limit of the norm is 35-37 g / l.
To determine the level of albumin, blood is taken from patients in the morning on an empty stomach. If the analysis is carried out exclusively for calculating this protein fraction, then a number of features must be taken into account that can lead to an increase in albumin by 10-15%. So, too hard work with a fist, prolonged clamping of the vessel with a tourniquet and excessive physical overstrain can distort the results of the examination. The patient, 12 hours before the procedure, should refuse to eat food and intensive training.
Treatment of hypoalbuminemia
Treatment of hypoalbuminemia involves addressing the causes that provoked a decrease in the level of albumin in the blood. This will restore the protein values to physiological norms.
If this symptom is a consequence of errors in nutrition, then it is necessary to adjust the patient's menu, enriching it with foods rich in proteins. First of all, these are eggs, meat, milk, cheeses.
In severe cases, when the protein level cannot be increased in a short time, albumin is administered intravenously.
Therapy can take place in the following areas:
- Drugs to lower blood pressure are prescribed for hypertensive patients and patients with heart failure.
- In case of liver diseases, it is necessary to take hepatoprotectors and enzymes, diet and avoidance of alcohol are also required. With ascites, fluid is pumped out of the abdominal cavity.
- Therapy of diseases of the digestive system is carried out with bismuth preparations, proton pump blockers, enzymatic drugs, etc. It is imperative to observe a gentle menu with a sufficient amount of protein products.
- Severe burns require symptomatic therapy with antibiotics and pain relievers.
In case of kidney disease, antibacterial drugs, diuretics are prescribed. Hemodialysis is performed as needed.
Any bleeding must be stopped urgently. Patients with severe hypoalbunemia are hospitalized and left in the hospital until they feel better.
The author of the article: Shutov Maxim Evgenievich | Hematologist
Education: In 2013 he graduated from the Kursk State Medical University and received a diploma "General Medicine". After 2 years, completed residency in the specialty "Oncology". In 2016 completed postgraduate studies at the National Medical and Surgical Center named after N. I. Pirogov.