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ALT (SGPT) and AST (SGOT) are enzymes made in the liver. They are also known as transaminases. The liver uses these enzymes to metabolize amino acids and to make proteins. When liver cells are damaged or dying, ALT and AST leak into the bloodstream.
Many different things can cause liver enzymes to rise above normal levels:
Excessive alcohol intake/Alcoholic liver disease
Liver inflammation from medications such as overdose of Acetaminophen ( Tylenol) and certain herbs,
Auto-immune hepatitis - a condition where a person's immune system mistakes the liver for an invader and attacks it,
Fatty liver- fat build -up in liver cells, called steatohepatitis when the fatty liver is inflammed - NASH
Inherited liver diseases
Inflammation in the liver or gallbladder
Freq causes of fatty liver are Diabetes, Obesity and alcohol abuse.
ALT (also called alanine aminotransferase or SGPT) is found in the liver only. High levels of ALT in the bloodstream mean that there may be liver inflammation and/or damage. This test cannot predict liver damage or disease progression. It is simply a direct measurement of the amount of ALT in the person's bloodstream at the time of the test. The normal range of ALT levels is between 5 IU/L to 60 IU/L (International Units per Liter). ALT levels in people with HCV often rise and fall over time, so additional testing such as HCV RNA, HCV genotyping and a liver biopsy may be needed to help determine the cause and extent of liver damage.
AST (also called aspartate aminotransferase or SGOT) is found in other organs besides the liver. High AST levels in the bloodstream can be a sign of liver trouble. AST testing measures the level of AST in a person's bloodstream at a given time. The normal range for AST levels in the bloodstream are 5 IU/L to 43 IU/L. Like ALT levels, AST levels in people with HCV often vary over time and can't be used to forecast disease progression or specifically measure liver damage.
NASH is more formally known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in medical circles. When NASH is present, the liver accumulates too much fat, which can ultimately lead to inflammation, scarring and, in some cases, liver failure
Risk factors for NASH include genetic factors, obesity, high blood fats, low magnesium levels, too much iron in the body and diabetes or insulin resistance.
It is the pattern of these tests' results that are used to determine how the liver is functioning, and what may be causing any problems. Don't hesitate to talk to your physician about any tests that are done, or to ask what they are being used for, (monitoring or diagnosing) what the results are, and how those results are being interpreted
Lifestyle strategies that make cells more receptive to insulin -- including weight loss, daily exercise and a reduced calorie diet with moderate amounts of good quality carbohydrates -- are core elements for treating NASH.
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