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Vitamin A blood test

Retinol test

 

The vitamin A test measures the level of vitamin A in the blood.

How the Test is Performed

 

A blood sample is needed.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

Follow your health care provider's instructions about not eating or drinking anything for up to 24 hours before the test.

 

How the Test will Feel

 

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterwards, there may be some throbbing or slight bruising. This soon goes away.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

This test is done to check if you have too much or too little vitamin A in your blood. (These conditions are uncommon in the United States.)

 

Normal Results

 

Normal values range from 50 to 200 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) or 1.75 to 6.98 micromoles per liter (micromol/L).

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

A lower than normal value means you do not have enough vitamin A in your blood. This may cause:

  • Bone or teeth problems in young children
  • Dry or inflamed eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night blindness
  • Recurring infections
  • Skin rashes

Vitamin A deficiency may occur if your body has trouble absorbing fats through the digestive tract. This may occur if you have:

  • Chronic lung disease called cystic fibrosis
  • Pancreas problems, such as swelling and inflammation (pancreatitis) or the organ not producing enough enzymes (pancreatic insufficiency)
  • Small intestine disorder called celiac disease

 

Risks

 

Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

 

 

References

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Vitamin A (retinol) - serum. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:1175-1177.

Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 218.

 
  • Blood test

    Blood test - illustration

    Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. Preparation may vary depending on the specific test.

    Blood test

    illustration

    • Blood test

      Blood test - illustration

      Blood is drawn from a vein (venipuncture), usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. Preparation may vary depending on the specific test.

      Blood test

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

      Tests for Vitamin A blood test

       

       

      Review Date: 11/1/2015

      Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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