Q:

What causes an elevation in ALT?

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Quick Answer

An elevation in ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is linked to several liver conditions, mononucleosis, pancreatitis, too much iron in the blood and toxic medications, according to Healthline. Testing ALT levels can help doctors diagnose and monitor liver disease and determine if a treatment is working.

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Full Answer

Routine blood testing may also indicate elevated ALT, according to Mayo Clinic. Many times, high ALT is temporary and only slightly higher than normal. Elevated ALT does not necessarily indicate a chronic liver condition.

ALT is an enzyme produced in the liver that helps to break down proteins, Healthline says. When the liver is not functioning properly, more ALT is released into the bloodstream, causing the level to rise.

A normal ALT level is typically 7 to 55 liters per unit, but factors such as age and gender can affect what is considered normal, as noted by Healthline. Patients should discuss their ALT test with their doctor to learn if the level is high in their particular case.

Testing for ALT is not a definitive test for liver disease, states Healthline. Some patients with severe liver disease have normal ALT levels. The test also cannot determine how much liver damage is present or how bad the liver condition is likely to become.

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