Elevated levels of LDH, or lactate dehydrogenase, in the blood indicates acute or chronic cell damage, according to Healthline. When injury or illness causes damage to the cells, the body responds by releasing LDH into the bloodstream.
Some conditions that can cause an elevation in LDH levels include certain cancers, heart attack, blood flow deficiency, stroke or other cerebrovascular accidents, hemolytic anemia or infectious mononucleosis. Liver diseases, including hepatitis, may also cause high levels of LDH. Low blood pressure, injuries to the muscles, muscular dystrophy and tissue death are additional causes, according to Healthline.
LDH is an enzyme that makes it possible for the body to turn sugar into energy. LDH can be found in many tissues and organs, including the kidneys, pancreas, heart, liver, brain, blood cells and skeletal muscles, notes Healthline. There are five different types of LDH enzymes, and elevation of a particular enzyme or multiple enzymes can help make a diagnosis of certain disorders. For instance, when LDH-1 is higher than LDH-2, a heart attack may have occurred; when all LDH enzymes are elevated, it can be an indicator of failure of multiple organs, while elevation of LDH-4 an LDH-5 suggests liver damage, notes Healthline. Ongoing treatment for various conditions can be tracked through regular monitoring of LDH levels.