Liver enzymes blood tests are simple tests that help detect liver damage. If the conditions are normal, these enzymes are found in the cells of the liver. However if there is some damage or injury to the cells these enzymes spill into the blood stream of the individual. Enzymes generally have unique functions and are found throughout the body and these enzymes help speeding up the regular and necessary reactions in the body.
The main enzymes made in the liver are the ALT and the AST enzymes. These are also called transaminases. These enzymes are used by the liver in metabolizing the amino acids and making proteins. When there is some kind of damage to the liver cells the ALT and ALS start leaking into the bloodstream. There are many reasons why the liver enzymes tend to rise to levels that are not normal. These include:
- Increased alcohol intake/liver disease due to alcoholism
- Viral hepatitis
- Inflamed liver due to medication and certain herbs
- Auto-immune hepatitis—this is when the immune system of the person considers the liver to be an invader and attacks it
- Liver diseases that are inherited
- Heart failure
- Tumor in the liver
- Fatty liver.
ALT or SGPT or alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the liver. If you have high levels of this enzyme in your bloodstream it could indicate that your liver is inflamed or damaged. This test cannot however be used in the predication of liver damage or the progression of the disease. It is simply used to measure the level of ALT in the person’s bloodstream. If you have normal levels then your ALT would be anything between 5 IU/L and 60 IU/L.
AST or SGOT or aspartate aminotransferase are not only found in the liver but also in other organs. High levels of AST could mean that you have some liver trouble. If your levels of AST are between 5 IU/L to 43 IU/L then it is considered normal. These levels could change over time and do not indicate whether there is some progression in the disease or the level of liver damage.
Cholestatic liver enzymes are GGT and ALP. If there is any damage in the bile duct or if it is inflamed GGT and ALP spill from the liver into the bloodstream. Liver enzyme blood tests help in determining the levels of GGT and ALP as well. If these levels are high it could be due to fatty liver, alcoholic liver disease, some scarring of the bile ducts, and some gallstones and gall bladder problems.
Submitted by M T on April 14, 2010 at 01:28