Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)

Alkaline Phosphatase - ALP

Alkaline Phosphatase – ALP. What is this test, what is it used for, what are the precautions to take, and what do its results indicate?

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test measures the amount of ALP in your blood that comes from your liver and bones and is one of the tests included in a comprehensive metabolic panel. ALP levels in the blood may be elevated if you have liver disease or certain bone disorders.

overview of an alkaline phosphatase

Alp test measures the amount of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in your blood. Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found throughout your body.

Enzymes are proteins that aid in chemical reactions. For example, they can break down large molecules into smaller parts or help smaller molecules join together to form larger structures.

Because it is primarily found in the liver, ALP is frequently referred to as a liver enzyme. It does, however, exist in the following locations:

  • The bile duct.
  • skeleton.
  • The kidneys.
  • The Intestines.
  • In pregnant women, the placenta.

Abnormal levels of ALP in your blood can indicate tissue damage or disruption of normal bodily processes. However, the serum alkaline phosphatase test alone cannot identify the problem, so additional tests are usually required to make a diagnosis.

About Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) Test

Other names ALP, ALK, Alkp, PHOS,  ALP Isoenzyme Test, ALP Fractionation Test, ALK PHOS
Test purpose Assist in the diagnosis of liver and bone diseases, it could also be used to diagnose or monitor other health conditions.
preparations fasting for 6-12 hours before the test
specimen Serum (preferred) or plasma
Reference Range 0 – 14 days:                    83-248 U/L
15 days – 12 months:   122-469 U/L
1 – 9 years:                     142-335 U/L
10 – 12 years:                 129-417 U/L
13 – 14 years:                 116-468 U/L
15 – 16 years:                 82-331 U/L
17 – 18 years:                  55-149 U/L
19> years:                       40-129 U/L
Methodology Colorimetric

purpose of alkaline phosphatase test

As part of a routine checkup, your doctor may order an alp blood test. Because ALP levels can be affected by a variety of conditions, the test is frequently performed in conjunction with other blood tests. Other tests may include a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) or liver function tests to determine how well your liver is functioning.

If you have symptoms of liver damage or a bone disorder, an alkaline phosphatase test may be ordered. Among the symptoms of liver disease are:

  • Vomiting and nausea.
  • Appetite loss.
  • Fatigue\Weakness.
  • Jaundice is a condition in which your skin and eyes turn yellow.
  • Abdominal swelling and/or pain (belly).
  • Swelling of the ankles and legs.
  • Frequent itching.

Among the symptoms of bone disorders are:

  • Bone discomfort.
  • Inflamed and arthritic joints.
  • unusually shaped and/or excessively large bones.
  • Bone fractures.

What occurs during the examination?

A blood sample from a vein is needed for an ALP test. Usually, a strap is tied around the person’s upper arm to expose the veins in the inner elbow.

They swab the area with alcohol and insert a small needle once they find a suitable vein.

They then thread a plastic tube through the needle’s eye and draw blood. The needle is gently removed and covers the area with a small bandage or dressing once there is enough blood in the collection tube.

ALP tests are typically completed in less than 5 minutes.

Preparation for ALP test

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)

The lab performing the test determines how to prepare for an alkaline phosphatase test. Fasting for 6 to 12 hours before the test is required by some labs.
Because some medications can interfere with the results, make sure your doctor is aware of all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.
Also in case of pregnancy, tell your doctor because the level of ALP in your blood will rise.

Interpreting test results

High alkaline phosphatase (ALP) levels may indicate a liver problem or a bone disorder. Different types of ALP are caused by liver problems and bone disorders. However, your test results do not indicate which type of ALP is elevated.

High level of ALP

If your ALP levels are elevated, your provider may order additional tests to determine the source of the problem. These tests may include:

  • ALP isoenzyme test: this can determine which part of your body produces ALP. However, this test may not be available in all locations.
  • Liver function tests: If the results of these tests are also high, your high ALP level is most likely due to a problem with your liver.

High alkaline phosphatase levels in your liver could indicate:

  1. Bile duct obstructions
  2. Cirrhosis
  3. Hepatitis
  4. Mononucleosis can sometimes cause liver swelling.

If alkaline phosphatase levels are high and liver tests come back normal, the problem could be a bone disorder like Paget’s disease of bone. This disease causes your bones to become abnormally large and weak, making them more prone to breaking.

ALP levels that are moderately elevated may indicate a variety of conditions, including Hodgkin lymphoma, heart failure, or certain infections.

Low level of ALP

Low ALP levels are less common. They could indicate:

  1. zinc deficiency.
  2. malnutrition.
  3. pernicious anemia.
  4. thyroid disease.
  5. Wilson disease.
  6. hypophosphatasia.

Related Tests

  • Bilirubin.
  • Albumin
  • ALT.
  • AST.
  • Bone alkaline phosphatase test (BAP).
  • Thyroid hormones.
  •  kidney functions
  • Tumor markers

Alkaline phosphatase is a significant indicator of diseases and health conditions that affect the liver, bones, and other organs. To ensure the accuracy of an ALP test, you must follow the fasting guidelines and inform your healthcare provider of any medications you are taking, whether prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, or nutritional.

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