I recently had a routine health check, and abstained from alcohol for about six weeks prior to make sure I aced the test. I'm not a drunk, but probably shift more than is good for me. Couple of chu-hais after work, a night in the pub once a month and a bottle of wine with the Sunday dinner.
On the other hand, I'm not overweight, exercise regularly, eat well and have never smoked. When I decided to quit the booze for six weeks, I did so with absolutely no difficulty whatsoever. All in all, I feel great (for a 45-year-old man).
So I was a bit nonplussed when the health check results came back and gave me an A in all areas - except liver function.
GGTP: 174 (!)
Naturally, I'm back off the booze, but I'm seriously worried I've caused myself some serious harm. I know the liver can regenerate - but if that's the state it was in after a six-week detox, what kind of mess was it in regular circumstances?
The advice was to be re-checked after six months (which makes sense, and is some comfort - if there was an emergency it would tell me to seek immediate medical advice), but I'm still seriously worried.
Anyone with any knowledge of these matters want to interpret the above readings?
AST (aspartate aminotransferase) is an enzyme found in high amounts in heart muscle and liver âand skeletal muscle cells. It is also found in lesser amounts in other tissues.â
The normal range is 10 to 34 IU/L.â
ALT (also called alanine aminotransferase or SGPT) is found in the liver only. The normal range âof ALT levels is between 5 IU/L to 60 IU/L.
GGT (gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase) is an enzyme found in the liver. The normal range of GGT âis from 5 IU/L to 80 IU/L. In your case, the enzymes are elevated. The various causes of such a increase include - Obesity, PBC, heavy drinking, fatty liver, and certain medications or âherbs that are toxic to the liver. â
From the history provided it seems that your high GGT levels are due to chronic âalcohol intake induced liver changes which can Range from Alcoholic fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis.
As such since the other liver enzymes are within normal limits there is no reason to panic. Since you have stopped alcohol intake and you intend to continue not drinking , over time your enzyme levels will return to normal.
Many thanks for your most reassuring advice. Would you be able to suggest a ballpark estimate as to how long it might take for my enzyme levels to recover? I hope to share a glass of Christmas cheer with my loved ones, but I'll be on the mineral water until then and thereafter!
"Ask a Doctor" questions are answered by certified physicians and other medical professionals.
For more information about experts participating in the "Ask a Doctor" Network, please visit our
medical experts page.
You may also visit our Liver Disorders, Hepatitis A,B,C , for moderated patient to patient support and information.
The information provided on eHealth Forum is designed to improve, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.
Personal consultation(s) with a qualified medical professional is the proper means for diagnosing any medical condition.