Vitamin A blood test measures the levels of vitamin A present in the blood. This test is used to detect vitamin A deficiency or vitamin A toxicity. This test also helps in detecting the risk of deficiency.
What is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is also called as retinol. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient required for the body. It helps in vision, growth, and integrity of the skin, in the formation of the bones, immune function, development of the embryo, cell division, reproduction, etc. It also acts as an antioxidant. Vitamin A is available through many foods such as carrot, green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe, fruits, dairy products, fish, liver, chicken, eggs, whole milk, fortified milk, whole milk, etc. Vitamin A can also be taken as oral supplements. Liver and fat tissues stores vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin A deficiency is due to poor absorption of vitamin A from food or if your body is unable to absorb fats from the digestive tract. Vitamin A deficiency may also be due to conditions like cystic fibrosis (chronic lung disease), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or insufficient pancreatic enzymes, etc. Vitamin A deficiency may lead to impaired vision, night blindness, xerophthalmia (a condition in which eyes cannot produce tears), dry skin, scaly skin, follicular thickening of the skin, infections of the respiratory tract, keratinisation of the skin and mucous membranes in the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract, impaired growth and infections in children, etc. Excess of vitamin A may also lead to toxic effects and sometimes leads to birth defects. Vitamin A toxicity occurs mostly due to an overdose of vitamin A supplements.
Why this test is performed?
This test may be recommended to you if you experience symptoms like dry skin, eyes, and hair, thickening of the skin, lesions, ulcers, infections frequently, anemia, any damage to the cornea, etc. This test is also recommended if you are malnourished or underweight. Your doctor may ask you to undergo this test if you are suffering from the diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (an intestinal disorder in which there are abnormal colon contractions leading to severe abdominal pain), celiac disease (serious autoimmune disorder), Crohn’s disease(inflammatory bowel disease). This test is also performed if you are suspected to have vitamin A toxicity. In vitamin A toxicity conditions you will experience symptoms like nausea and vomiting, tiredness, weakness, headaches, dizziness, muscle ache, joint pains, hair fall, itching, dryness of mucous membranes, cracks at the corner of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue, etc.
Precautions: Alcohol consumption prior to the test may lead to high levels of vitamin A in the body and interfere with the results.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Vitamin A. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Vitamin A.
For this test you may be asked to fast (without food and drinks) for up to 24 hours prior to the test is performed. During pregnancy, vitamin A in your body may be more. Hence your test results may be little more than the usual reference range.
The reference range may vary depending on the gender, age, health history, your condition, etc.
If your test results are lower than the reference range then it may indicate vitamin A deficiency which means your body is lacking sufficient vitamin A or the body is not absorbing vitamin A from food.
If your test results are higher than the reference range it may indicate vitamin A toxicity or vitamin A overdose which means high levels of vitamin A are circulating in your blood.
If you get abnormal test results to consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may recommend other tests depending on your test results.
|OTHER||All age groups||0.30 - 1.20 mg/L|