Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
Why this test?
- To detect liver tissue damage in viral and toxic hepatitis and other diseases.
- As a rule, the ALT test is prescribed together with the Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test.
- To control the effectiveness of treatment of liver diseases.
In what cases is it prescribed?
- With symptoms of liver diseases: weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain and bloating, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine.
- In the presence of factors that increase the risk of developing liver diseases: previously experienced hepatitis or recent contact with hepatitis infection,excessive alcohol consumption, hereditary predisposition to liver diseases, taking drugs that can damage the liver, overweight or diabetes.
- Regularly throughout the treatment process to determine its effectiveness.
Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is an enzyme that is present mainly in the cells of the liver and kidneys, somewhat in smaller quantities in the cells of the heart and muscles. In healthy people, the activity in the blood is low, the norm of ALT has low values. When liver tissue cells are damaged, ALT is released into the bloodstream usually before the appearance of such characteristic symptoms as jaundice. In this regard, the activity of this enzyme is used as an indicator of liver damage. Together with other studies that perform the same tasks, the analysis for ALT is part of the so-called liver tests.
The liver is a vital organ located in the upper right part of the abdominal cavity. It participates in the implementation of many important functions of the body - in the processing of nutrients, the production of bile, the synthesis of proteins, such as blood coagulation factors, and also breaks down potentially toxic compounds into safe substances.
A number of diseases lead to damage to liver cells, which contributes to an increase in ALT activity.
Often, the ALT test is prescribed to check whether there is damage to the liver due to hepatitis and taking drugs or other substances that are toxic to this organ. However, ALT does not always reflect only liver damage, the activity of this enzyme can also increase in diseases of other organs.
AST and ALT are considered the two most important indicators of liver damage, although ALT is more specific than AST. In some cases, AST is directly compared to ALT and their ratio (AST / ALT) is calculated. It can be used to detect the causes of liver damage.