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SGPT test or ALT blood test during pregnancy is performed to check high levels of ALT in blood which indicates presence of viral hepatitis. ALT test used for determining presence of liver disease if it runs in the family. SGPT test analysis is performed to make sure that the results are true positive.
SGPT (Serum Glutamic Pyruvic Transaminase) is usually recommended for checking the damage to the liver. The doctor can suggest this test to know what is the cause of liver damage i.e. disease, injury or drug.
What is ALT Test?
Alanine Aminotransferase test is performed to measure the ALT level in blood. ALT test is another name of SGPT Test. ALT enzyme is made by the cells in the liver. The Liver is the largest gland of the body and has following important functions:
1- Storing vitamins and iron
2- Making proteins
3- Producing bile juice, which helps in digestion
4- Removing the toxins from blood
ALT is majorly found in the liver cells, and smalltraces are also available in the kidney. ALT gets released into the bloodstream when there are damages in the liver or it gets inflamed. Due to this ALT serum level rises. Measuring this level in a blood, allows doctors to evaluate the health of an individual’s liver. ALT test is part of initial liver disease screening.
Why ALT or SGPT Test is required?
Doctors often recommend the ALT test along with other liver tests for determining whether you have a liver injury or failure. It is recommended under the following conditions:
5- Dark urine
6- Pain in right upper quadrant of abdomen
7- Extreme tiredness
8- Light colored stool
9- Itchy skin
Below are some reasons you might have to go through the test:
1- If you have been exposed to hepatitis virus
2- Consuming lot of alcohol
3- Family history of liver disease
4- Intake of medicine which causes liver damage
ALT test is done as a part of blood panel during the regular examination. And if you have already gone through this test then the doctor can use this to check how well the treatment is going.
Preparations involved for ALT Test
You don't need any special preparation for an ALT test. But it is advised to inform your doctor about the particular prescription or the medications you are following. There are some drugs which might affect the ALT levels in your blood. Your doctor will ask you to avoid the intake of certain medications for some time before the test.
How is ALT Test performed?
The procedure starts with taking a small blood sample and follows the below steps:
1- Healthcare provider will use an antiseptic for cleaning your skin where the needle will be inserted.
2- On upper arm, an elastic band will be tied which will stop the blood flow and will make the veins more visible.
3- After finding the vein, they will insert the needle, which will cause a pinching or sting sensation. The blood is drawn in the attached tube to the needle end. In some situations, more than one tub is required.
4- The healthcare provider will remove the elastic band after drawing enough blood. A piece of cotton is placed over the portion and is covered with a bandage or tape.
5- The sample is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
6- After the test, the lab sends the report to the doctor who will explain what exactly is the cause of liver disease.
What ALT Test results mean?
Below are the two conditions that will be indicated in your test report-
1- Normal Results
The normal ALT value in blood is usually between 7 to 55 units per liter. But this number can vary from hospital to hospital. This value can be affected due to several factors, including age and gender.
Moreover, lower level ALT indicates a healthy liver. It is found that lower than normal results have shown an increased long-term mortality.
2- Abnormal Reports
If the results are higher than the normal ALT levels, that indicates liver damage. An ALT increase may be due to:
a- An inflammatory condition of the liver i.e. hepatitis
b- Severe scarring (cirrhosis) of the liver
c- Death of liver tissue
d- Cancer or tumor in the liver
e- Lack of blood flow in the organ
f- Hemochromatosis disorder where iron build up in the body
g- Mononucleosis infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus
h- Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas
If the test results indicate liver disease or damage then you may require more testing for finding the underlying reasons of the problem and the method of treating it.
What are the Risks involved in ALT Test?
There are few risks involved in this simple blood test. Sometimes bruises can occur in the needle-inserted area. By applying pressure on the site can be minimized once the needle is removed. In rare situation any of the following complication can also occur:
1- Excessive bleedingwhere needle was inserted
2- Blood accumulation beneath skin known as hematoma
3- Fainting or lightheadedness at the sight of blood
4- Infection on the needle inserted site
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