A prolonged inflammatory state induces a decrease in the synthesis of nutritional proteins (albumin, transthyretin). This decrease is proportional to the intensity of the inflammatory syndrome. As a first approximation, an increase of 25 mg/L in CRP is associated with a decrease of 1 g/L in albumin. This formula makes it possible to evaluate serum albumin in a patient with an inflammatory syndrome for more than 15 days.
An albuminemia < 35g/l most often indicates a state of undernutrition.
Albumin represents 60% of the proteins present in the blood. It is used to transport many endogenous (which originate inside the body) and exogenous (which originate outside the body) substances in the blood and it allows the maintenance of oncotic pressure (the force that attracts water towards proteins). Albumin is made by hepatocytes (liver cells).
The albumin assay is prescribed in case of suspected liver or kidney disease. This test also measures the amount of protein in the blood if the doctor suspects a drop. Finally, an albumin assay is requested if the patient has edema.
Inflammation is an immune reaction to an infectious agent such as bacteria or a dysregulated and excessive immune response. C-reactive protein is a protein released by the liver when there is acute or chronic inflammation in the body, whether accompanied by a bacterial or viral infection, or not. In response to an attack, it can quickly reach a very high level. "The CRP level is all the higher as the infection or inflammation is severe. For example, in the case of a small infection, the elevation of CRP will be discreet to moderate", specifies the Pr Patrick Marcellin, hepatologist at Beaujon Hospital (Paris). Its level thus increases just before the inflammation (less than 24 hours) and drops once the inflammation is cured.
The normal CRP level should be less than 6 mg/L. It may be higher in some smokers or overweight people. It can also be moderately high during pregnancy. Finally, the standards can be slightly modified according to the techniques used by each laboratory, they will however be mentioned to you on the results sheet.