What is an Alkaline Phosphatase Test?
An Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) is a blood test that determines the total quantity of ALP in your blood. ALP is an enzyme present throughout your body parts. An enzyme is a protein in your cells that speeds up the chemical process in your body and acts as a catalyst. There are different types of ALP produced by each part of your body. An abnormal ALP level in your blood may lead to tissue damage or disturbance in the body’s function.
An ALP is present in the following organs of the body.
● Bile duct
● Placenta (an organ created in the uterus during pregnancy)
Does this test have other names?
ALP, ALK, ALK PHOS, PHOS, Alkp
What are the types of alkaline phosphatase?
A general ALP, which is most common, and an ALP isoenzyme are the two types of alkaline phosphatase blood tests.
A general ALP is part of a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP).
An ALP isoenzyme test helps to find where the different types of alkaline phosphatase are present in your body.
What is the purpose of the ALP test?
An alkaline phosphatase test helps screen and diagnose several liver or bones disease because an ALP is mainly present in these body parts. A high ALP level can show liver disease or specific bone disorders.
When do I need an ALP test?
Your healthcare provider may ask to order an ALP blood test to observe and monitor the various parts of your body. It is a type of routine checkup. Besides the ALP test, you may need to conduct additional tests to diagnose ALP in your blood. These tests include a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) or liver function test to see the working conditions of your liver.
If you experience liver disease or a bone disorder, you will ask to take an ALP test. The following are the signs and symptoms of liver disease that include
● Swelling or/and pain in the abdominal (belly), specifically on your right side
● Nausea and vomiting
● Jaundice, a disease that changes your skins and eyes color to yellow
● Fatigue & Weakness
● Weight loss without any effort
● Increase itching
● Loss of appetite
● Pee color changes to dark or/and passing light color stool (poop)
● Swelling in your ankles and legs
Signs and symptoms of bone disorders, such as
● Pain in the bone or/and joint
● Abnormally structured bones or/and enlargement
● Developed bone fractures
● Arthritis and inflammation in your joints
What is the procedure for an alkaline phosphatase test?
Your healthcare provider will ask for a blood sample from you. A small needle injects into a vein in your arm to collect your blood. A small quantity of blood collects in a test tube. Your provider applies a bandage to your vein. You can return to your home for daily activities. The blood test generally takes at least 5 minutes.
How do I need to prepare for an ALP test?
You will receive instructions for the test from your provider. The preparations for the test vary depending on the lab you use. Some lab care recommends fasting for 6 to 12 hours before the test. An ALP test also conducts with additional blood tests. You will ask not to eat or drink for several hours.
What are the risks of the test?
A blood test is a routine test that does not have a high risk. You may feel some pain when the needle goes in and out. These symptoms will stay for a short time.
What are the recommended values for an ALP test?
The ideal test results vary from laboratory to laboratory. The most common range is between 44 to 467 international units per liter (IU/L). According to a few organizations, the recommended value ranges from 30 to 120 IU/L. It is worth considering the reference range of a particular lab that you used. The normal alkaline phosphatase levels also depend on the person’s age and sex.
ALP levels are generally high in childhood and puberty because of the growth and development of the bones. There is a slightly higher difference in ALP levels in men compared to women between the ages of 15 to 50 years. The ALP level rises with age. Pregnant women have a chance of high ALP levels due to the presence of ALP in the placenta.
What do the ALP test results mean?
Liver disease or a bone disorder may occur due to high alkaline phosphatase levels. They prevail with the development of different types of ALP. The test results cannot indicate ALP that has a high value. ‘
If you have experienced high alkaline phosphatase levels in your liver, it results due to:
● Cirrhosis of the liver - A liver disease that occurs in the late stage. In this disease, scar tissue replaces the healthy liver tissue then the liver stops working properly.
● Hepatitis - It is the inflammation of the liver that has many different types.
● Cholestasis of pregnancy - A most frequent condition occurs in pregnancy in the late stage.
● Biliary atresia - An uncommon disease in which blockage occurs in the ducts (tube) that possess bile from your liver to your gallbladder.
● Biliary stricture - A condition in which the reduction or contraction of the bile duct occurs.
● Mononucleosis - A rare condition that can cause swelling in your liver.
The other possible causes that may increase the alkaline phosphatase levels
● Bone metastasis - A disease in which the bones contain cancer cells from different parts of your body.
● Paget’s disease of the bone - It is also known as osteitis deform. An unpopular chronic bone disease can lead to breakdown and abnormal growth of the bones.
Low ALP levels may show these symptoms
● Deficiency of zinc and magnesium.
● Lack of nutrition.
● Uncommon genetic diseases, such as Wilson disease and Hypophosphatasia.
You can place an online order for the lab test. For more laboratory tests and an online appointment with a doctor, you can visit UmbrellaMD.
What factors may affect the test results?
Some factors that may alter your test results include
● Birth control pills and some specific medicines.
● Intake of diet.
● High ALP level in teens and children due to their growth of the bones.