Alkaline phosphatase an enzyme made in the liver, bone, and the placenta and normally present in high concentrations in growing bone and in bile. Alkaline phosphatase is released into the blood during injury and during such normal activities as bone growth and pregnancy. It is measured in a routine blood test.
Abnormally high blood levels of alkaline phosphatase may indicate disease in bone or liver, bile duct obstruction, or certain malignancies. The enzyme is often elevated in the leukemic cells in chronic myelogenous leukemia
Abnormally low levels of alkaline phosphatase is a genetic condition called hypophosphatasia which results in bone deformities.
The enzyme is termed alkaline phosphatase because it works under alkaline (non-acidic) conditions, as opposed to acid phosphatase
Why It Is Done ?
A test for alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is done to:
- Check for liver disease or damage to the liver. Symptoms of liver disease can include jaundice, belly pain, nausea, and vomiting. An ALP test may also be used to check the liver when medicines that can damage the liver are taken.
- Check bone problems (sometimes found on X-rays), such as rickets, osteomalacia, bone tumors, Paget's disease, or too much of the hormone that controls bone growth ( parathyroid hormone). The ALP level can be used to check how well treatment for Paget's disease is working.
How To Prepare ?
An alkaline phosphatase test is often done at the same time as a routine blood test. You do not need to do anything before having a routine blood test.
If you are having a follow-up ALP test, you may be asked to not eat or drink for 10 hours before the test. The ALP level generally goes up after eating, especially after eating fatty foods.
Many medicines may change the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form.
How It Is Done ?
The health professional drawing your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure to the site and then a bandage.
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