The GGT test is often prescribed for people suffering from suspected liver disorders. GGT or Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase test measures the level of the enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase in the blood. The abnormal levels of this enzyme can indicate that the person is suffering from liver disorders. But, this test is not often used to specify which liver condition the person is suffering from. Hence, this test is often part of a panel test to check liver functioning or to monitor the progress or decreased efficiency of treatment.
The GGT test is done to detect liver disorders. While the enzyme can be found throughout the body, the liver is the primary source. The GGT test can also be prescribed to determine if the person is suffering from bone disorders. People who drink alcohol in an excessive amount are also prescribed the GGT test.
The liver is a vital organ that helps in the detoxification of the blood. When there is any issue related to the functioning of the liver, symptoms are observed. The symptoms which lead to the prescription of the GGT test are:
Some of the conditions that also require the GGT test to be done are:
The GGT test looks for the levels of the enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase in the blood sample collected. The enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase levels are very low in the body. The primary function of this enzyme is to catalyze the gamma-glutamyl cycle. This means that amino acids are transferred across the cell membranes with the help of this enzyme.
When the liver suffers from a disorder or gets damaged, the enzyme flows into the blood of the person. This increased level helps doctors to focus on knowing the cause of the liver damage and starting accurate treatment.
The GGT test is done by checking the blood collected from a person. When done by an experienced phlebotomist, the process of blood collection can be painless and quick. The insertion of the needle has to be done properly so that the vein is punctured and blood collected at the first shot.
Apart from causing discomfort and making the person feel dizzy, there are no potential risks or side effects associated with the process of blood sample collection. If signs like fainting, excessive blood loss, or intensive bruising around the puncture area are seen, it is advised to contact the doctor immediately.
The GGT blood test cost depends on whether the test is done alone or with the ALP test. These two tests are the forerunners when it comes to checking for liver-related disorders.
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This depends on the lab and the type of diet or medication the person is on. Often fasting of at least 8 hours is requested prior to the collection of the blood sample.
Apart from the ALP or alkaline phosphatase, the following tests are often prescribed with or after the GGT test:
Yes, this is possible only when the alcohol consumption has not led to other serious liver conditions. When a person quits drinking, he/she can expect the GGT levels to drop within the normal range. This can take at least a month.
The GGT levels in the body are usually low. Since this hormone is found in other cells, the levels cannot be zero all the time. The measure is recorded as units/liter. That said, the normal range used as the marker is between 5 U/L to 40 U/L. This level might be slightly higher in newborn babies. If the levels are lower than the normal, it is not a cause for concern.
Certain medications can also affect the levels of the enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase. Medications like oral contraceptives, phenobarbital, or carbamazepine are known to elevate the levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase.
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