Also known as: Fructose-bisphosphate aldolase, Fructose-1, 6 bisphosphate
What is a serum aldolase test?
Aldolase is a protein with the most significant amounts found in the liver, brain, and skeletal muscles. Aldolase helps convert sugars such as glucose and fructose into energy. If your muscles and liver cells are damaged, it causes large amounts of aldolase to release into the bloodstream.
The aldolase test estimates the amount of aldolase in your blood. Elevated levels of this enzyme may show a severe health problem. You may find aldolase levels higher than usual in many ailments, including various infectious diseases and some cancers. However, because there are more particular tests for diagnosing many of these diseases, aldolase is only advised in specific conditions.
What is the test used for?
As mentioned earlier, aldolase testing may show muscle or organ impairment due to injury or disease that directly hits the muscles or organs. As a diagnostic measure, aldolase testing is used with other muscle enzyme tests to help diagnose certain conditions such as;
- Muscular dystrophy
Aldolase testing can also aid doctors in understanding the cause of certain muscle disorders because various muscle disorders arise in the nervous system and, as a result, cause muscle instability or pain. Evaluating aldolase levels also help your healthcare providers determine whether these issues of muscles originate in the nervous system or the muscles tissues. Additionally, you may advise a serum aldolase test to monitor if you are undergoing treatment for muscle disease. This test also gives the healthcare team an idea about how well you are responding to the treatment and whether your condition is improving or not.
Why and when do you need a serum aldolase test?
Generally, serum muscle enzymes tests are advised to evaluate patients with muscle defects or muscle myalgia. When elevated, serum muscle enzymes can help distinguish muscle disease-derived muscle frailty from a neurogenic cause. In other words, you may need a serum aldolase test in certain myopathies (diseases and disorders of the muscles). These include:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Polymyositis and dermatomyositis (inflammatory conditions of muscles)
- Rhabdomyolysis ( it causes muscle breakdown)
- Any infection that leads to muscle weakness or pain
- Muscle problems caused by medications
You may need this test if you have the following symptoms:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle pain called myalgia
If your doctor needs to diagnose liver or muscle damage, he may also order additional enzyme tests at the same time to evaluate the condition precisely.
When a doctor suspects muscle damage, he may order creatinine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase blood test. When your doctor orders a serum aldolase test to check for liver damage, you may need tests such as alanine aminotransferase ALT and aspartate aminotransferase (ast blood test).
What kind of sample is required for the test?
As the name suggests, the serum aldolase test is a blood test. So you will need to give a blood sample to perform this test.
- Usually, a technician will take your sample.
- They insert a needle into the veins of your arm or hand and collect the blood in a tube.
- He will draw about 1 milliliter of blood into a tube called a vial.
- He will then send the sample to a lab for analysis.
- The reports will be shared with your doctor for review when the results come.
Do you need to prepare for the test?
Typically, you need to fast for around 6-12 hours before the test. Also, physical activity or exercise might alter the results of a serum aldolase test; therefore, it is crucial to discuss your regular exercise program with your doctor. He may advise you to leave your exercise routine for a few days before the test because it can result in elevated serum aldolase levels. Your current medication regimen might change the aldolase levels too. Ensure that your doctor knows about all the medications you have been taking to get accurate results, including OTC and prescription medicines both.
Are there any risks to this test?
Like any blood test, you may feel some discomfort or some brief, mild or throbbing pain at the puncture site. However, the risks associated with a blood test are minimal. In rare cases, the risks are:
- Difficulty withdrawing a sample, resulting in many needle pricks.
- Excessive bleeding at the puncture site.
- Fainting results from blood loss
- Hematoma or accumulation of blood under the skin.
- An infection at the site of the needle.
What do the test results mean?
The ranges for an abnormal test may differ from laboratory to laboratory. And there are trivial differences between normal levels for men and women.
Generally, normal limits can range from 1.0 to 7.5 units per liter (U/L) for 17 or older people. Average results for patients aged up to 16 years can reach 14.5 U/L.
High or abnormal aldolase levels:
Elevated or abnormal levels are a result of health disorders, including:
Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a hereditary condition. Symptoms usually start at the age of 2-3 years. The initial symptom is often muscle weakness, making it difficult for the child to walk, run, and jump.
An autoimmune condition suggests that your immune system kills healthy cells instead of just fighting off intruders like viruses. Symptoms include a red rash around eyelids, red or purple bumps on joints and muscle weakness.
Polymyositis is also an autoimmune disease, but it is rare. Polymyositis causes weakness in the muscles of the neck, back, shoulders, and hips. Symptoms most often start in adults and come on gradually.
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy is also a hereditary or genetic disorder. You may feel weakness and a decrease in muscle mass around the shoulders and hips. Symptoms include walking with a waddling posture, difficulty getting up, or struggling with climbing stairs.
Other conditions include:
- Viral hepatitis
- Cancers of the liver, pancreas, or prostate
- Muscular dystrophy
- Heart attack
Aldolase test for conditions that result in elevated aldolase levels isn't straightforward. Firstly, muscle damage causes higher aldolase levels. However, aldolase levels start to drop as the muscle mass shrinks. It is essential to tell your doctor if you've lately engaged in vigorous activity, which can cause you to have high or misleading results.
Low aldolase levels:
Less than 2.0 to 3.0 U/L is considered a low level of aldolase. If you have lower than average aldolase levels, you may have:
- Fructose intolerance
- Muscle-wasting disease
- Late-stage muscular dystrophy
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