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Alkaline Phosphatase High

Alkaline Phosphatase

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)? 

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
  • Bones
  • Kidneys 
  • Intestines 
  • 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 

  • Alkaline Phosphatase

    Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and eyes 

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness and tiredness 
  • Dark urine 
  • Itching 
  • 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 ALP

  • Cirrhosis – scarring of the liver 
  • Hepatitis 
  • 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 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Wilson’s disease; is a rare condition that causes a buildup of copper inside body tissues 

Bottom Line 

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.  

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