ALT Blood Test

SGPT Test

The ALT blood test is used to measure the levels of an enzyme called alanine transaminase. How ALT Test is done, and what do the results mean?

The ALT blood test is formerly known as the SGPT test and specifies the amount of ALT enzyme in your blood. Alanine transaminase is one of the enzymes mainly found in your liver. Enzymes are proteins that help the body perform essential functions.


What is an ALT blood test?

ALT, or alanine transaminase, is an enzyme found primarily in the liver. When liver cells are harmed, ALT is released into the bloodstream. An ALT test determines how much ALT is present in the blood. Increased ALT levels in the blood can indicate a liver problem issue even before you display signs of liver problems, such as jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). An ALT blood test could aid in the early detection of liver disease.

The test is also called: Alanine Transaminase (ALT), SGPT (Serum Glutamic-Pyruvic Transaminase), GPT (Glutamic-Pyruvic Transaminase).

What is the SGPT blood test used for?

An ALT test is used to help determine the health of the liver. Because damage to liver cells can cause ALT to leak into the bloodstream, an ALT test can aid in the detection of liver problems.

ALT is frequently tested in conjunction with other liver enzymes and compounds in the blood. These measurements, when combined, can be used for diagnosis, screening, and monitoring.

Diagnosis is the testing that occurs after the onset of symptoms. Its goal is to identify the source of the problem or the cause of the symptoms. ALT testing may aid in the diagnosis of symptoms associated with liver diseases, such as nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, itching, jaundice, fatigue, and appetite loss.

Screening is a type of testing used to detect health problems before they manifest as symptoms. Testing for ALT and other liver enzymes may be recommended for earlier detection because ALT levels in the blood may rise before signs appear in some liver conditions. Screening is more likely to be recommended if you have risk factors for liver disease, such as heavy alcohol use, diabetes, overweight, or a family history of liver problems. Even if you don’t have any risk factors, your doctor may order ALT tests during routine health checks.

Monitoring encompasses all methods used to track the progression of your condition. If you have previously had liver disease or an abnormal ALT test, you may be subjected to constant testing to see how your levels change over time. ALT and liver enzyme tests can also detect medication side effects that impair liver health and function.

“Read Also: Ammonia Levels Test


Why do I need to do an ALT Test?

As part of a routine exam or if you have symptoms of liver damage, your doctor may have ordered liver function tests, including an ALT blood test. These symptoms could include:

  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Jaundice.
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Unusual itching.
  • Tiredness.

Because ALT in the bloodstream can imply liver damage before signs occur, your healthcare provider may ask for an ALT blood test when you’re at a higher risk for liver damage:

  • A history of liver disease in your family.
  • Drinking excessively.
  • Hepatitis virus exposure or potential exposure.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • It is taking certain medications that can harm your liver.

What happens during the ALT blood test?

ALT test
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Alanine aminotransferase testing is usually done as part of a panel of measurements ordered by a doctor. Generally, the ALT test is conducted on a blood sample drawn from a vein in the arm in a hospital, laboratory, or clinic.

You can also take this test at home. ALT is one of several measurements related to liver health included in certain at-home test kits. You can collect a blood sample at home for these tests, but you must mail it to a laboratory where it will be analyzed. Prescriptions are not usually required for at-home tests.

During the test

An ALT test requires a blood sample acquired by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm. This medical test is a routine procedure typically performed in a doctor’s office or similar medical settings.

Concerning an at-home test, you gather a small blood sample using the test materials provided and package it to be mailed to a lab.


Preparations for SGPT Test

Because ALT is most commonly tested in conjunction with other measurements in a panel, you will most likely be instructed to fast for up to 12 hours prior to your blood test. You are not allowed to eat or drink anything other than water during this time.

Fasting is not required when testing ALT alone. As a result, you should consult with your doctor about the specifics of your upcoming test. Fasting instructions from your doctor should be followed ahead of time.

A wide range of medications and supplements may have an impact on your ALT levels. It would be best to inform your doctor about any medicines or dietary supplements you are taking before the test. In some cases, you may be instructed to discontinue taking medication prior to the test.

Intense exercise can also affect your ALT levels, so let your doctor know ahead of time if you regularly engage in strenuous physical activities.

If you are taking an at-home test, make sure to read the included instructions thoroughly so that you understand how to complete each step of the test process correctly.


Are there any risks concerning the GPT test?

SGPT Test
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A blood draw is a common and routine procedure with few adverse effects. A bandage is usually applied to the puncture site to stop the bleeding. Some people experience bruises or pain in their arms due to the test, but these side effects are rarely long-lasting.

If you are instructed to fast prior to the blood draw, it is often beneficial to bring a snack with you so that you can eat something shortly after the test is completed. After your blood is drawn, you should be able to drive and resume most normal activities.

If your finger does not stop bleeding on its own after an at-home ALT test, you may need to apply a bandage. Other side effects are uncommon. After you’ve collected your blood sample, you’ll need to properly package it and mail it.


ALT Test Results

Liver function tests
Liver function tests

ALT test results are generally accessible in a few working days. Your doctor’s office may notify you of the results of your tests. You can usually get a copy of the test report mailed to you or access it electronically.

The results of at-home ALT tests are generally available electronically through a mobile app or a specific website. Due to the time required for your sample to arrive by mail to the laboratory, receiving the results may take a few extra days.

The test result will include a line indicating your ALT level as well as the reference range used by the lab to categorize ALT levels as normal or abnormal. ALT is commonly measured in units per litre (U/L) or international units per litre (IU/L).

Please note that there is no universal reference range for ALT. Laboratory methods can vary, affecting what is considered normal. As a result, it’s critical to look at the range provided by the lab that analyzed your blood.

In most cases, ALT is tested in a panel test alongside other liver enzymes and proteins. For each measurement, your test report will show your levels as well as the lab’s reference range. This is noteworthy because your test results are interpreted by examining these test components collectively.

ALT Normal Range

The ALT normal range in blood for people without risk factors for liver disease extends from 29 to 33 (IU/L) for males and 19 to 25 IU/L for females, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. This value varies depending on the laboratory.

Certain factors, such as gender and age, can influence this range. It’s critical to talk to your doctor about your specific results.

High ALT levels

High levels of ALT  or High SGPT can be caused by cell damage or injury. Because ALT is most concentrated in the liver, abnormal ALT test results are commonly associated with liver conditions such as inflammation (hepatitis) and scarring (cirrhosis).

At the same time, ALT levels can be elevated in the absence of an underlying health issue. ALT can be affected by a variety of factors, and in most cases, high ALT is not a sign of severe liver disease.

Your doctor considers a number of factors when interpreting the results of your test. These include your current health, medical history, and the levels of other measurements on your test. Furthermore, your doctor may take into account personal factors that can influence your normal level of ALT, such as:

  • Exercise: Intense or extreme exercise can temporarily increase ALT levels.
  • Medications: A variety of medications and supplements can cause ALT measurements to change.
  • Sex: Males have higher levels of ALT, which is thought to be due to hormonal differences.
  • Menstruation: ALT levels can fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle.
  • Age: ALT levels tend to decline as people get older, though the exact reason for this is unknown.
  • Body mass index: Several studies have found a link between ALT ranges and BMI, which may alter how test results are interpreted in overweight people.

When ALT levels are extremely high, it may indicate an acute liver problem. Relatively mild or moderate increase, especially if it continues over numerous tests, might be a sign of chronic disease. However, the degree of elevation is not a reliable predictor of the extent of liver injury.

Because ALT levels can increase due to a variety of liver problems, the test cannot correctly identify the underlying reason. Although it is uncommon, ALT can be elevated as a result of a disease that is not related to the liver. Analyzing the relationship between ALT levels and other liver enzymes might provide indications that will assist your physician in assessing your condition and recommending any essential follow-up testing.

Low ALT levels

The majority of lower ALT  (low sgpt) results indicate a healthy liver. Lower-than-normal results, on the other hand, have been linked to an increase in long-term mortality, according to research.


Are test results reliable?

ALT measurement methods in the laboratory are reliable and reproducible. However, no test is entirely accurate. When errors occur, they are almost always related to improper blood sample collection issues.


Do I need any additional tests?

If an abnormal ALT level was found on your liver panel or comprehensive metabolic panel test, follow-up tests are common. If you have significantly elevated ALT and/or symptoms of a liver problem, further testing may be required right away. Follow-up testing may be more extensive, including blood tests, imaging, and, in some cases, a biopsy.

Following an abnormal ALT test, repeat testing may be advised either immediately or at a later date. A series of tests done over time could provide a more thorough overview of your liver’s wellbeing and, in some situations, eliminate the need for more costly or invasive testing.


Test-results-related questions for your doctor

A conversation with your physician about the outcomes of your ALT test can help ensure that you are properly informed of your results. Some of the following questions may help you cover important information with your doctor:

  • What was the value of my ALT? Was it within the normal range?
  • Were any additional measurements taken? If so, were they considered normal or abnormal?
  • What do the results of the tests mean for my overall health?
  • Do you recommend any additional tests? If so, which ones, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Difference between ALT Test and other tests

Alanine aminotransferase is one of several enzymes produced in the liver that are frequently tested in conjunction. The sections that follow discuss some of the similarities and differences between ALT and other related tests.

What distinguishes an alanine aminotransferase test from a liver panel test?

The standard liver panel test includes five measurements, one of which is ALT. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), albumin, and bilirubin are usually measured as part of the liver panel. ALT is more commonly measured as part of a liver panel than as an individual test.

What distinguishes alanine aminotransferase from aspartate aminotransferase (AST)?

Another enzyme that is frequently measured in a panel with ALT is aspartate aminotransferase, also known as AST.

Both AST and ALT are liver enzymes, but AST is found in higher concentrations in other parts of the body, such as the bones. As a result, while ALT is thought to be more directly related to liver health, ALT and AST are still commonly tested and interpreted together.

What distinguishes alanine aminotransferase from alkaline phosphatase (ALP)?

Another liver enzyme measured in a standard liver panel or comprehensive metabolic panel is alkaline phosphatase or ALP. ALP is made and found in the liver, but it is also found in a variety of other tissues throughout the body, including the bones.

ALP and ALK are used to diagnose various types of liver problems. ALT is an indicator of possible liver cell damage, whereas ALP is more commonly examined for its relationship to possible bile duct blockage both inside and outside the liver. Because ALP is found in the bones, ALP testing is a more accurate method of detecting bone disorders.


Your physician is the best person to help you comprehend the various factors that affect (ALT) Alanine aminotransferase test interpretation and what the results mean for your general wellbeing.

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