ALP (alkaline phosphatase)
Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme that promotes the breakdown of proteins and the metabolic processes of cells. It is found in every tissue of the human body, but is also present in greater amounts in the intestines, liver, bones and kidneys, and in the placenta of pregnant women.
Alkaline phosphatase, which can be detected in the blood, is most often of hepatic and skeletal origin, providing information on the function of these organs.
What does the test show?
The assay can be used to determine the activity of the alkaline phosphatase enzyme in the body. Used with other laboratory test items, it is possible to determine exactly in which organ of the body the concentration has increased or decreased, thus facilitating a more accurate diagnosis.
In which cases is it recommended to perform the test?
It is part of a routine laboratory test, but your doctor may ask you if you have any suspicion of liver or bile disease or bone disorders.
What sample is needed for the test?
A blood sample taken from a vein is needed for the test.
The test is recommended to be performed on an empty stomach because certain foods may raise ALP levels, but it is not necessary for the test.
What can the result indicate?
It is important to emphasize that a diagnosis can only be made by examining several values together, be it a complete liver function test or a bone metabolism test.
High ALP level usually indicates damage to the liver or the skeletal system. If liver tests, performed at the same time, such as bilirubin, GOT, or GPT levels are also elevated, ALP is derived from the liver. If phosphate and calcium levels are abnormal, then ALP is of bone origin.
Primarily, elevated alkaline phosphatase levels are of greater clinical significance, which may be caused by the following diseases:
- Liver cancer
- Hepatic cirrhosis (alcohol-induced liver damage)
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)
- Gallstones, biliary stagnation
Elevations in ALP activity are also common during pregnancy.
The following abnormalities may be behind the decreased value:
- lack of certain vitamins and minerals: folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6, phosphate, zinc
What to do after the test?
The test alone cannot diagnose any disease, and in all cases consult an internist or haematologist to determine the exact diagnosis and required therapy.