Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Should I be really worried about this blood test result?"
"I just had a blood test done and my ALT was 111, AST was 54, and iron was 40. Nothing else was out of the normal ranges. Should I be worried?"
In and of themselves these numbers are not something to be particularly alarmed about, but the best thing to do is to discuss these results with your doctor. Normal ranges vary somewhat from lab to lab, but from the look of things you have mild elevation of your liver enzymes and a slightly low Iron level. The iron test is essentially just a measurement of free iron molecules circulating in your blood stream and it gives doctors a rough idea of your total body reserve iron stores. Iron deficiency is a very common problem: about 20% of women (50% of pregnant women) and 3% of men have low iron. Treatment is simple, increase iron containing foods such as meat and spinach in your diet and possibly take iron supplements if recommended by your doctor. AST and ALT are enzymes contained inside liver cells and they can be released into the blood when liver cells die, therefore testing blood levels of these enzymes gives doctors a clue as to the health of the liver. Usually levels of these enzymes that are several hundred to several thousand units above normal are a sign that there may be some form of liver or bile duct problem, but slight elevations like those you report are usually of little concern. Sometimes these types of elevations can be caused by mild stress on the liver (perhaps you had a hard night of drinking before the blood test?) or from a gallbladder problem (which would be associated with intermittent pain in your right upper abdomen after eating), but many times there is no cause found for the mild elevation and the enzyme levels simply return to normal on the next test without consequence. Again, you should give your doctor a call or return for a quick visit to discuss the test results. The most likely scenario is that your doctor will want you to increase iron in your diet and will want to recheck your liver enzymes at some point in the future to make sure they are not continuing to rise.
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