Abnormal ALP levels can occur naturally to some extent and not cause any underlying diseases. However, abnormal ALP levels can indicate severe medical conditions primarily related to the liver, bones, or kidney.
This article discusses ALP, ALP tests, and causes of high and low levels of ALP.
What is Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)?
Our body has thousands of individual enzymes. Likewise, Alkaline Phosphatase is also an enzyme found throughout our body. It is essential for multiple processes and helps break down proteins.
Since it is primarily found in the liver, the ALP is often considered the liver enzyme. However, it is also present in the following places:
- Bile duct
- The placenta during pregnancy
The researchers are yet to understand the full range of ALP functions, but it seems to contribute to the following processes:
- In transporting nutrients and other enzymes in the liver
- Aiding the formation and complete growth of the bones
- Transporting phosphates, fatty acids, and calcium in the intestines
- In digesting intestine fat
- Regulates growth and death, and migration during fetal development
The Alkaline Phosphatase Test
The ALP test is a blood test that measures the amount of ALP in your blood. The abnormal levels can indicate a severe health condition.
Doctors often recommend ALP tests to people who have symptoms pointing at a liver condition or a bone disorder.
Symptoms of liver condition
Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Weakness and tiredness
- Dark urine
- Unexpected weight loss
Symptoms of bone disorder
- Bone or joint pain
- Enlarged or unusually shaped bones
- Increased frequency of bone fractures
The causes of high alkaline phosphatase
AlP levels are measured in international units per liter (IU/I). The typical reference range for normal levels is 44-147 IU/I. For some other labs, the range can be 30-120 IU/I as it varies from lab to lab.
So, what happens when alkaline phosphatase is high? What is behind the alkaline phosphatase high causes?
In general, the elevation in the ALP levels is caused by a liver condition or bone disorder. Malnutrition can also lead to high ALP levels.
High ALP levels can also stem from
- Cirrhosis – scarring of the liver
- A blockage in the bile duct
It is worth noting that not always elevated levels indicate underlying health conditions.
Sometimes ALP levels are naturally higher in people:
- Growing children and adolescents
- Pregnant people
- Older adults
- People with healing fractures
People with Blood types O and B can observe an increase in intestinal ALP levels after eating some fatty meals.
Low ALP Levels cause
The following factors can cause low ALP levels:
- Zinc Deficiency
- Wilson’s disease; is a rare condition that causes a buildup of copper inside body tissues
Abnormal ALP levels can signify an underlying health issue. In most cases, high ALP levels stem from a health problem in the liver or bones. Your doctor may recommend you for an ALP test if there are symptoms of liver or bone problems.
For more information regarding the ALP test, you can visit us at Grace Laboratory.