Various forms of liver disease can cause elevated liver enzymes. The tests that assess the liver function include a variety of enzymes present in the heart, red blood cells and skeletal muscle.
The highest concentration of ALT (alanine aminotransferase) or sometimes called SGPT and aspartame aminotransferase (ALT or SGOT) is in the liver. If the liver is damaged, there is leakage of ALT and AST into the bloodstream. The normal range of ALT range from 7-56 U/L. The normal range of AST range from 5-40 U/L.
What are the potential causes?
Various ailments can lead to liver damage ranging from an acute, brief elevation to chronic mild elevation. The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease develops due to diabetes or being overweight. This is a chronic disease that generally affects middle-aged individuals.
Drugs including cholesterol-lowering medications can also cause an increase in the liver enzymes. Other causes that can result to an abrupt increase in the liver enzymes include acute hepatitis A, acetaminophen overdose or drug poisoning.
The doctor will observe for any indications of the disease process. The indications that occur with elevated liver enzymes is based on the condition, but might include jaundice, dark-colored urine, yellowish tinge to the skin and white of the eyes, ascites or fluid buildup in the abdomen, clay-colored stools, low-grade fever, intestinal bleeding or weight loss. In addition, the spleen and liver might feel bigger than normal.
An individual with elevated liver enzymes might have no symptoms when it comes to non-alcohol fatty liver disease, chronic hepatitis C or B or early alcoholic liver disease. In case acute liver disease is responsible for the elevated liver enzymes, the signs include nausea, fatigue, upper right quadrant abdominal pain and tenderness, vomiting, itchiness, mental changes and loss of sexual drive.