ammonia test

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what is ammonia?

Ammonia is a nitrogen waste compound generated by intestinal bacteria of the body while synthesising proteins. It is found in the bloodstream and can be measured by taking a simple blood sample. The liver absorbs ammonia in blood and forms urea. Urea turns into urine and is disposed by the body. When a patient suffers from a liver or kidney failure, the Urea levels in the body rise; this can cause serious repercussions to health. At early stages, increased ammonia levels in the blood can cause fatigue and weakness in bones. If not detected and cured, it can also cause brain tissue damage leading to disorientation and confusion. Lack of normal ammonia level in blood can affect the whole body.

some other causes of irregular ammonia levels:

Our body releases ammonia which is used to make amino acids; they are the building blocks of proteins. Ammonia plays a huge role in the biological processes of our body. There are many causes other than liver/ kidney malfunction that leads to high levels of ammonia in the body. High intake of alcohol or drugs can cause the ammonia levels to rise; this happens as body fluids are exhausted. Irregularly high ammonia level is found among smokers. If the intestine, stomach or oesophagus is bleeding, ammonia content is typically on the rise. Low ammonia content is also harmful to the body; it is caused by high blood pressure.

symptoms of high ammonia levels:

If any process in our body is not intact, signals are provided as a sign to fix it. Symptoms are the most important part of any medical process. The body should be carefully observed in order to catch these hints. High ammonia level symptoms are as follows-

• Abnormal shivering of hands

• Drowsiness

• Confusion or disorientation

• Lethargic movement

• Speech defects

• Agitation or irritation

• Change in personality

• Seizures

side effects of ammonia

If ammonia normal range is not intact in our bloodstream, it can lead to many side effects and diseases. Reye’s syndrome is a rare ammonia disease found in kids; it results in swelling of the brain and liver. It is caused when children are recovering from a viral infection, and they have a high aspirin intake. Urea cycle disorder is also one of the ammonia side effects, causing irritability, vomiting, and seizures among infants. It may also lead to liver dysfunction, and a condition called hepatic encephalopathy in adults.

diagnosis of ammonia

Ammonia level normal range is usually :

  • 170-340 mcg/dL in new-borns,
  • 70-135 mcg/dL in children and
  • 15-60 mcg/dL in adults.

What is ammonia test?

It is the only way to detect unhealthy ammonia levels in the body. It is done when your doctor finds an irregularity in your urine cycle or any other of the mentioned symptoms. You are advised not to eat or drink eight hours before the test which is why it is best when done early in the morning. You should also avoid any nicotine consumption as it raises the ammonia content in the body. You are also refrained from rigorous exercise right before the ammonia test as straining muscle movement also increases ammonia levels. If all these precautions are not taken, the results might be inaccurate. Ammonia blood test involves a very simple procedure; a healthcare professional will draw a sample of blood from the back of your hand or inner elbow. A needle is inserted, and the blood gets collected with the help of the syringe.

prevention and cure

 As ammonia is water dissolvent, it is advised to drink large amounts of water in order to subside ammonia toxicity. Doctors might suggest dietary changes to increase the intake of proteins. Medication with lactulose is prescribed by doctors in some conditions to treat constipation. Lactulose removes the ammonia content from the bloodstream into the colon where it is removed from the body. Xifaxan is another antibiotic that is recommended by doctors to cure effects of ammonia; it is used to prevent hospitalization when the patient is diagnosed with hepatic encephalopathy.

what can we do?

We at Portea provide you with a convenient option to ‘heal at home’. Our professionals come right at your doorstep so that you don’t have to wait in a hospital or laboratory testing queue. We want to make the experience hassle-free. The procedure is very easy; you just have to book an appointment online or by calling. Our executive will be available at your home/office, and the reports shall be emailed to you once they are published. Ammonia treatment generally involves a blood test, and you can avail that at the comfort of your home. 


Portea is trusted and safe with 150,000 happy customers. We have also partnered with many hospitals who recommend us for our services. We have highly skilled phlebotomists with plenty of experience in the industry. Portea is the one-stop destination for all your medical needs.