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ALT in Elevated Liver Enzymes

The liver enzyme ALT stands for alanine transaminase. Along with AST, it is one of those that is more commonly raised to unusually high levels when there is a liver problem.

Underlying medical reasons for elevated ALT enzymes

There are many medical causes that can be behind a significantly high level when ALT is checked. Although it is frequently linked to the liver, many of these conditions are actually entirely different. Let's browse through some possibilities.

Viral hepatitis

Having elevated liver enzymes of the ALT variety may indicate that a patient has a viral form of hepatitis, such as hepatitis C. This condition involves liver inflammation. In the C form, the condition may present without any symptoms. However, without treatment, many cases progress to a chronic form, which can lead to complications like cirrhosis.

Infectious mononucleosis

Now we see a reason for high ALT levels which, at first, seems unrelated to the liver. However, mononucleosis can lead to liver inflammation, as well as enlargement of the organ. Many other medical signs and symptoms can show up. To begin with, it is common for there to be a inflammation of the pharynx and a sore throat. The patient may undergo appetite loss. Lymph node swelling is another frequently seen symptom. Mononucleosis is caused by infection with EBV, which stands for Epstein-Barr virus.

Heart failure

ALT elevatation may also point to heart failure. This term typically refers to a condition where the heart does not provide the flow of blood as needed by the rest of the person's body. The feeling of breathlessness may be noted in a patient who has this illness. Ascites might occur. A person with heart failure may become easily fatigued. Needing to use the toilet (for urination) often during the night is another symptom. Consider that these can also occur for a number of other reasons. Also, these symptoms are mixed between left and right ventricle failure, which can produce different presentations.

Using medications

The use of some medications may lead to elevated ALT enzymes. For instance, certain antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications may do this. Other types can also raise ALT. Therefore, tell your doctor about any medicine you may be using when you take your liver function test.

You can return home to read more about elevated liver enzymes. The liver function tests page provides more information on what is tested.

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