As a former heavy drinker, should I be concerned?: AST Level at 98 - otherwise normal bloodwork
After a number of years of what I consider incompetent and "everything is anxiety" doctors I finally switched to a new PCP today after going to Urgent Care for a tingling foot.
He ran a full panel of blood tests to check out things that may be causing the tingling, to get a better idea if there is a pinched nerve or something similar.
My AST level came back as 98. Otherwise all of the blood tests he said were normal. He attributes this to the fact that until recently Iwas a moderate to heavy drinker for 3-5 years, and said as long as I don't continue drinking alcohol this is nothing to be concerned with.
He's going to run another blood test, this time fasting (I had coffee this morning), next week when he gives me a required new patient physical.
I'm a bit concerned as 98 seems high based on what I've searched online, especially since I've not had but a few drinks the past few months - most recently two last week - and I see a lot of concern over hepatitis and so forth even with AST and ALT (mine I'm guessing was normal) in the 40's.
So looking for a bit of a second opinion before I go back to see him next week. Is it possible to have a 98 AST simply due to alcohol after all this time, especially with cutting down? Is it also possible that working out most of last week could have raised the AST levels?
I worry by nature and don't like elevated results in anything. If it is caused by alcohol, with abstaining and eating healthy, can my liver recover and go down.. or is this damage done?
Certain medications may cause elevated liver enzymes such as acetaminophen and naproxen, prescription medications for high cholesterol, anti-seizure medications, antibiotics and cardiovascular medications.
I think this is your problem. Stop taking the Naproxen and you will make your liver alot happier! I dont know if this will be enough to get you back in the normal unless you have been taking alot of these but the liver is amazing in the way it can heal itself once the cause for elevated liver enzymes has been completely stopped. Be very careful since you can push it to hard and cause permanent damage. Your AST level should be no higher than 35. Dont take anymore of these pills.
isn't liver damage permanent though? I think you need to stop drinking as well as unnecessary medications. I don't even drink but I take a lot of medications and my liver levels are
ALT 91 (10-45)
I think these indicate the liver is being damaged.
Liver damage is permanent but the ALT/AST testing is not used to determine liver damage but instead as an indication the liver function is limited and irritated. Cells are being destroyed. This can heal once the souce of what is irritating the liver has been stopped. Liver damage is determined with a CT Scan which can show the amount of scaring in the liver that can no longer be repaired.
For instance I have end stage cirrhosis but my ALT/AST scores are better than yours. Problem is I have only a portion of my liver that is able to filter out the toxins that are harmful to my body due to the amount of scaring I have. So I have other levels that are to high or to low. So because of my liver and its limited abilities my blood stream is contaminated with harmful toxins such as ammonia and mangenese. This then is carried to every organ in my body including my brain and very slowly damaging each organ. Unfortunatley the liver is the only organ in the human body that can repair itself.
This greatly effects my brain causing all kinds of impairments. This is a condition called hepatic encephalopathy (HE). Well lets just say I can keep going on and on but I think I covered the question way back there somewhere. ha ha
Have you talked with your doctor about alternative medications?
thanks very much! I'm so sorry to hear about your condition. is there anyway to filter your blood or medications that you can take?
What alternative medications are there? I've read about choline, biotin, milk thistle, liver detox tea but don't know if they harm or help the liver....
I take milk thistle daily, some doctors say its really helps others laugh about it but I have been taking it since my diagnosis and my recovery has been going well so I can say it doesnt hurt.
There are other medications that help with the ammonia such as Lactulose and Xifaxan. They are both quite helpful but in my case they don't prove to be enough. Diet becomes very important, eating food that are high in anti-oxidents can really help. Also cardio-vascular exercise is very helpful with muscle pain. It helps increase the blood flow to the muscles which become saturated with the toxins.
So there are alot of things that can be done to help. They just aren't quite enough.
Thank you for passing that along. I'll be sure to read up on it. Awe you dont need to feel sorry at all. It was caused from drinking like a crazy man! ha ha Since I have stopped drinking life has never been better. To bad it took cirrhosis to find that out but its alot better then going the rest of my life not knowing.
will morphine create your amonia (ammonia) levels to elevate higher if you already have liver damage and are unable to exercise, pretty much bed ridden and shes stays lathorgic majority of the time, in and out of hospital
Blood ammonia comes primarily from the bacterial breakdown of unabsorbed dietary protein in the intestine. Intestinal ammonia passes into the bloodstream and travels to the liver, which converts ammonia into urea. Urea subsequently passes from the body through the urine. High blood ammonia levels can occur with various forms of chronic liver disease, acute liver failure and gastrointestinal bleeding. Elevated blood ammonia levels adversely affect brain function. Early diagnosis and treatment of an elevated blood ammonia level helps reduce the risk of potentially life-threatening complications.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/228000-what-are-the-causes-of-high-blood-ammonia-level/#ixzz265sfxCCJ
This article very well explains elevated ammonia levels, the effects on the brain and the condition of the liver. Please pay particular attention to the explanation of decompensated liver disease. If you have any other questions please feel welcome to ask. From what I have read morphine works quite well for patients with decompensated cirrhosis. I'm really sorry to hear of the condition of your friend/loved one. Has she been registered with the transplant hospital?
Randy, would you mind telling me how gradual your drinking came about and at what age? I know it's easy for people to slowly increase their drinking without realizing it. Can drinking heavy 1-2 nights a week rather than daily be just as bad, or does the week of recovery rather than daily insult make a difference?
Drinking excessively is never a good thing and it's likely to get out of control in time. The more alcohol you consume the more damage that is being done, how long it takes for that damage to be repaired itself is different for everyone. Drinking smaller quantities and less often is your safest bet.
Everything we ingest kills liver cells but this is okay because of the livers amazing ability to heal itself but when we abuse alcohol massive amounts of liver cells are killed off and the liver is unable to replenish them quick enough so scar tissue is formed. We call this fibrosis and in severe cases cirrhosis. The scar tissue causes the liver to harden and restrict blood flow and the livers ability to filter toxins also creating portal hypertension.
This process takes many years as in my case 20+ years. I started out drinking casually then more and more. Eventually I found myself drinking daily. The sad thing is for years you do it thinking it’s fun but eventually that changes, dependency becomes so strong you do it just to feel normal. At the age of 38 I received my diagnosis. Keep in mind when comparing your own situation to mine that everyone is different.
Randy I just want to thank you for sharing not only your knowledge but your experience in recovery. I just found you guys trying to get some info on the results of some test I had this week. I will share those later but now I just want to commend those of you who have knowledge and take the time to share. Every medical journal I tried to access online wanted a subscription fee.
Barb you are very welcome, it is my pleasure to help anytime I can oh and welcome to MedHelp! MedHelp has a lot of very knowledgeable members in all of their communities. Take a look around and explore, MedHelp also offers Doctor Forums for your more critical concerns. Please feel welcome to message me if there is anything I can help you figure out, I will do my best :) Take care.
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