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ALT & AST levels

Posted by Dawn on July 29, 1999 at 21:23:54
Recently a childhood friend from way back told me she and her sister has Hepatitus C and that everyone should be tested.  I think I have already been tested, but I am not sure.  In 1996 I applied for a life insurance policy and was accepted.  I am looking at the test results and it says my ALT was 14 and my AST was 15.  Is this what they check for with Hepatitus C?  Would these levels clear me of having the disease?

Posted by HFHSM.D.-D.M. on August 08, 1999 at 18:21:18

Dear Dawn:
I appreciate your questions and I would like to make a couple of comments.  First of all, I am not sure why you think you might have hepatitis C.  Having a friend with hepatitis C is not a risk factor for hepatitis C.  Your blood has to come in contact with the blood of an infected person.  The virus cannot be spread by casual contact.  There are a variety of ways to get hepatitis C, but transfusions and intravenous drug use remain among the most common.  
The ALT and AST are liver enzymes and they are usually elevated in someone with hepatitis C.  An ALT of 14 and an AST of 15 would be normal for most clinical labs.  However, up to 20% of individuals with hepatitis C can have persistently normal liver enzymes and even more individuals with hepatitis C can have normal liver enzymes intermittently.  So,
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