Hi everyone, first post, i'm a 25 yr old male, i have been using pain killer (opiate based) drugs for about 7 years, over the last 3 years i have used methadone, and just today i had my first day ata methadone clinic so i can do it legally and get off of it soon, thats all i wanna do is stop totally.
Anyway, i have never ever used a needle, never had a blood transfusion, i don't work in a hospital around needles, or as a emt or police officer so i'm not around high risk needle exposure, i also have been with 1 sexual partner for 10 years monogamously.
Before i started the methadone program they take blood work, and today they told me my liver levels (GGT Levels) were high, the GGT was 81. In this forum i've seen many people saying they had GGT's of 130 and even up to 160, so i don't know how severe 81 is. The first thing the nurse said was this "could be" Hepatitis C, which totally floored me, my heart started racing, i asked her how i could have gotten it, IF thats what it is. She asked if i ever shot up, or had a transufsion, and all the high risk questions, which i am obviously in a very low risk group for it. The nurse then said it can be from 7 years of percocet, oxycontin, and methadone and lots of drinking. It's inflammation of the liver.
So basically what i wanted to ask is should i be freaking out about this, or is it just as possible it's because of the last 7 years of being unkind to my liver. I just need to stop freaking out, and it doesn't help that i have anxity anyway, because my mind goes nuts. So when i hear any possibilties of something like Hep C, i am really scared, but people around me are telling me it's just as legit that it's irritation from the years of lots of drinking and swallowing pills, which i haven't been drinking much at all for 2-3 months which i am happy about, and i am planning on being off methadone in 6 months. Any help would be awesome thanks a million everyone. Ryan
GGT is not the best marker for liver disease. ALT is the most specific marker and then it's AST and finally GGT. Hepatitis is a blood born virus and you cannot get it from drinking or taking drugs because it is transmitted by and large by blood to blood contact. Sharing needles, straws (the nasal passages can bleed), tattoos, transfusions etc are the most likely ways to get it. But, it's possible to be infected by your dentist or anyone intimately working on you where blood is involved. Monogamous sexual transmission is rare at about 3%. Hepatitis basically means liver disease but when you put a "C" after it it denotes a virus. Hepatitis B is another liver virus but alcoholic hepatitis describes liver injury due to alcohol abuse and other drugs can assault and injure the liver but those types of hepatitis are not viruses. So, you should get more information like a liver panel where you would get values for ALT, AST and GGT and you could also get a PCR to determine if you are infected with a hepatitis C. You should see a hepatologist or gastroenterologist (GI).
Thank you, actually i did have other levels on the blood work, it was a full test to determine liver function and the GGT and another one called GPT were the only ones that were high, does this tell you anything else?
I have a correction to make, in my original post i had said it was my GGT levels that were at 81, in fact it was my GPT levels, which i believe are also called ALT, so when i get my copy of the blood work tomorrow i can be 100% postive but, i am almost sure, it was approx 80 ALT, and 50ish GGT.. And as i said in my original post above, i haven't done anything that would make me think i have Hep C, and i tested negative for A & B. But I have been addicted to pain killers for 7 years and drank significatly during the use of the pills, i know am not drinking much at all, maybe, maybe once every 2 weeks, and if i do it's maybe 2 beers, but i think i may even eliminate that, and i now only take methadone, and just started the detox from methadone, so i am looking forward to being done with it in 6 months.
So anyway my correction was i think my ALT is 80 and my GGT is 56.
Any help now that i've got the info more accurate would be great.
Follow Mike's recommendation: find a hepatologist or gastroenterologist (GI).
Elevated enzymes can be due to any viral hepatitis (B & C are the most "popular"), by auto-immune hepatitis, alcohol induced hepatitis, etc., etc. Every hepatitis may damage your liver ... even kill you if you do not treat or remove the irritant (pills, alcohol, virus, etc). Any hepatitis is a silent killer, you may find out about it at end stage disease (by symptoms only).
You discovered it through a lab work - and you need to follow it with a liver specialist - no need to freak out, find out what you have and treat it!
An ALT of 81 is elevated but I have seen a lot higher and people have gotten well. But, this should be looked into. I really don't have anything to add aside from pure conjecture which would not be helpful or likely correct in terms of diagnosis. You should follow up with a hepatologist and find out why your enzymes are elevated. Once you get a diagnosis come back and the people here will be more than happy to help you with any questions. You need more information Ryan and don't agonize about this until you have something concrete. Good luck, Mike
It's unlikely you have Hep C, in light of both your history, and that fact that you didn't report an abnormal "ALT" which is often, but not always, a marker. As mentioned "GGT" is a very non-specific marker for liver disease and in fact many clinical practices -- the Cleaveland Clinic for example -- have for this reason removed GGT from their liver panels. Simply too many false alarms and misinterpretations such as apparently by the nurse in question. Still,a good idea to see a liver specialist (hepatologist) to rule out any liver-related issues.
Thanks a million to everyone, the last person that responded said GGT's are not always used now and because it was GGT not to worry, but i made a correction it was actually my ALT that was 81, my GGT was like 56, i didn't realize GPT was ALT, so i had gotten confused.
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