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SGPT Blood Test – Normal Range, Uses, Results & More

January 10, 2024 | Farah Jassawalla

Ever wondered what your SGPT or ALT blood test results mean? This simple liver enzyme test provides vital clues about your hepatic health. In this article, we'll dive deep into the 'what', 'why', and 'how' of the SGPT blood test. By the end, you'll understand what abnormal SGPT levels indicate and lifestyle tweaks to consider for liver optimization. 

What are the SGPT Test Measures?

It measures the following things:

Liver Injury and Damage  

The SGPT blood test measures the level of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) enzyme in the blood. ALT is normally present in high concentrations in the liver and is released into the blood when the liver is injured or inflamed. Even minor liver damage causes an elevation in ALT levels.

Alcohol and Fatty Liver Disease

Elevated SGPT is commonly seen in alcohol-related liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Excessive alcohol intake and accumulated fat in the liver both disrupt liver cells, releasing ALT into the bloodstream. Studies show over 90% of chronic heavy drinkers have abnormal ALT levels.

Viral Hepatitis Detection  

Since viral hepatitis infections like hepatitis A, B, and C directly infect and inflame liver cells, they frequently result in markedly high SGPT readings. This makes the test useful for indicating possible viral causes of liver problems that require further investigation.

Lifestyle Factors and SGPT Levels 

Following are the lifestyle factors and SGPT levels: 

Diet and Exercise Habits

Maintaining a healthy weight through proper nutrition and activity can significantly reduce the risk for NAFLD and keep SGPT levels in check. Minimizing high-fructose foods and saturated fats is especially important. 

Moderate Alcohol Use

While heavy drinking drives SGPT up, research suggests moderate alcohol consumption may actually be benign or protective for the liver when consumed with meals by generally healthy individuals.  

Stress Management

High levels of long-term stress can exacerbate existing liver issues, potentially worsening the inflammatory state. Activities like yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques may help support healthier liver function.

What is the SGPT Blood Test? 

The SGPT blood test, also known as the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test, measures the levels of this liver enzyme in your bloodstream. ALT is abundantly present inside healthy liver cells. Any injury or inflammation causing hepatic damage releases ALT into circulation. Hence, SGPT is a sensitive marker of liver distress.

Uses of the SGPT Test

Doctors commonly order the SGPT test to screen and diagnose liver conditions. Some key uses include: 

Monitoring alcohol-related liver diseases: Excessive alcohol intake is a top cause of elevated ALT levels. Tracking SGPT aids in gauging alcohol liver damage severity.

Detecting viral hepatitis: Hepatitis viruses like types A, B, and C are major infective hepatopathies. Abnormal SGPT often suggests possible viral hepatitis requiring further tests. 

Diagnosing NAFLD: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can cause high ALT despite mild alcohol consumption. This links NAFLD to obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Assessing drug-induced liver injury: Various medications may potentially harm the liver. Therapeutic monitoring of SGPT helps identify drug-caused hepatic adverse effects. 

What the SGPT Test Results Mean

The standard reference range for SGPT is considered below 40 IU/L. Minor elevations warrant attention. Markedly high levels generally indicate an underlying condition necessitating additional evaluation. Here's an overview:

  • SGPT 41-80 IU/L: Mildly elevated SGPT could point to early or resolving liver disease needing follow-up.

  • SGPT 81-120 IU/L: Moderate increase signifies active liver inflammation/injury necessitating further workup.

  • SGPT >120 IU/L: Markedly high SGPT levels are concerning and require prompt diagnosis/management by a hepatologist.

Low SGPT results do not necessarily rule out all liver issues, as alcohol and viruses may still cause damage despite normal enzyme levels initially. New symptoms with low SGPT warrant investigation.

What Causes Abnormal SGPT Levels? 

Now that we understand the clinical relevance of SGPT, let's explore what drives its levels up.

Alcohol Abuse: 

Chronic heavy drinking is the most common cause of elevated SGPT. It leads to alcoholic liver disease over time.

Viral Hepatitis: 

The hepatitis A, B, and C viruses can all directly infect liver cells, causing cellular death and inflammatory cells to be released into the bloodstream. This frequently drives ALT levels high.

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: 

Even without significant alcohol use, accumulation of fat in the liver due to metabolic factors like obesity and diabetes is a growing cause of abnormal SGPT. The condition is strongly linked to lifestyle issues like poor diet and lack of exercise.

Autoimmune Hepatitis: 

The immune system mistakenly attacks liver cells in this problem, increasing SGPT and requiring treatment.  

Genetic Disorders: 

Rare inborn hepatic abnormalities like hemochromatosis may manifest with abnormal SGPT levels.

Toxic Injury: 

Certain toxins, drugs, and herbal supplements have the potential for liver injury reflected in hepatic enzyme elevations. 

How Lifestyle Impacts SGPT Levels

An individual's daily habits and risk factors significantly influence their liver health, as seen through SGPT testing. Some actionable lifestyle tweaks include:

Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Losing extra pounds through diet and exercise reduces fatty liver risk, driving SGPT down.  

Moderate Alcohol Consumption:

Heavy drinking spikes SGPT, while occasional alcohol may actually mildly benefit the liver. 

Stress Management:

Adding relaxation techniques helps harness the damaging effects of chronic stress on the liver.

Avoid Toxins: 

Cutting back on toxins like smoking, contaminants, and supplements with uncertain safety lowers toxic strain on the liver.

Get Vaccinated: 

Hepatitis A and B immunizations offer protection from these hepatitis viruses affecting SGPT markers.

When to See a Doctor

See your physician or liver specialist for abnormal SGPT results and symptoms like abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, jaundice, and loss of appetite potentially linked to liver inflammation. Timely management helps prevent serious issues such as cirrhosis or liver cancer in the long run.

Conclusion

In closing, I hope this article has helped explain the importance of understanding your SGPT blood test results and what you can do to support your liver health through lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy liver is so important for your overall well-being. 

At Cura4U, we are passionate about empowering people with knowledge to make informed decisions about their healthcare. At Cura4U, our mission is to provide up-to-date and easily understandable health resources that help link patients and doctors. 

If you have any other questions about your SGPT levels or other lab results, I encourage you to visit our website. As a patient portal, we offer a wealth of articles on interpreting diagnostic tests, uncovering the latest medical research, connecting with telehealth providers, and more.

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