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My blood work gave me an ALT value of 64.
All the other values of the hepatic panel were normal.
What does it mean?



Dear Joanne,

An alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test measures the amount of this enzyme in the blood.

ALT (Alanine aminotransferase) normal range is 5 U/L to 45 U/L . U/L =Units per liter.

The ALT is an enzyme that is produced in the liver cells (hepatocytes) therefore it is more specific for liver disease than some of the other enzymes . It is generally increased in situations where there is damage to the liver cell membranes. All types of liver inflammation can cause raised ALT.

Liver inflammation can be caused by fatty infiltration (see fatty liver) some drugs/medications, alcohol, liver and bile duct disease.

Fatty liver is the collection of excessive amounts of fat inside liver cells, also called steatosis hepatitis.

It is important avoid strenuous exercise just before having an ALT test.

Very high levels of ALT may be caused by:

Recent or severe liver damage, such as viral hepatitis.
Lead poisoning.
Drug reactions.
Exposure to carbon tetrachloride.
Decay of a large tumor (necrosis).

Mildly or moderately high ALT levels may be caused by:

Hepatitis. The ALT level in a person with hepatitis can be 20 times the normal value.
Alcohol dependence. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol and take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can have high ALT blood levels.
Mildly elevated levels of ALT may occur in people who are growing quickly, especially young children.

Slightly high levels ALT levels may be caused by:

Liver cancer.
A heart attack.
Thyroid disease.
Severe burns.
Injury to the pancreas, kidneys, or muscles.
Vigorous exercise.
Many medicines, such as antibiotics, chemotherapy, aspirin, narcotics, and barbiturates.

ALT values >60 IU were associated with a significantly increased prevalence of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HB8) and antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBC) occurring together.

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

Taking medicines. Talk with your health professional about all the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking. You may be instructed to stop taking your medicines for several days before the test.

Taking some herbs and natural products, such as echinacea and valerian.
Strenuous exercise, injury to a muscle, or injections into a muscle.
Recent cardiac catheterization or surgery.

The ALT test detects liver injury. ALT values are usually compared to the levels of other enzymes, such as alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), to help determine which form of liver disease is present.

Very high levels of ALT (more than 10 times the highest normal level) are usually due to acute hepatitis, often due to a virus infection. In acute hepatitis, ALT levels usually stay high for about 1–2 months, but can take as long as 3–6 months to come back to normal.

Heavy exercise can cause a mild elevation like yours in ALT.

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