British Liver Trust
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High ALT and GGT (rarely drink alcohol)

Hi,

I've recently had my blood tests results back from my GP and I'm worried about the results fed back. My ALT and GGT were both elevated. ALT at 81 and GGT at 170. I'm a male aged 33 and generally in good health and with very little alcohol consumption (average around two pints of beer a month). This is way I'm concerned about the liver test result as I have no idea what's caused it. 

I've always known for the past 8 years that my ALT were higher than normal range but only around 50 mark following a routine blood check. It's been monitored over the years but has been quite stable so no concerns until the this week. 

I went to doctors recently as I have been feeling fatigued and unwell but nothing specific. My GP ordered a blood test, testing various things such as kidney function, FBC, glandular fever and a few others I've forgotten about. All come back clear except ALT and GGT (ASL is normal).

After talking to my GP, she has sent me for an ultrasound on my abdomen which has been flagged as urgent so I'm just waiting for the appointment at the hospital. Also she has requested another blood test in 2 weeks (4 weeks after my previous test) for a comparison. 

I've been reading up on ALT and GGT and most if not all articles say this is a result of alcohol abuse. As for barely drink alcohol I find this confusing and I'm concerned. 

Should I be concerned by these results? Has anyone else has similar results where it's just ALT and GGT high and what was your outcome/diagnosis?

38 Replies
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I have had high liver enzymes for 6+ years, way up in the many 100's, I never drink alcohol and despite all the tests including a  biopsy no cause as been found. Of course you should have the tests done but don't worry about your levels as they are only slightly elevated, do you take regular medication for anything as some can affect liver results.

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Thanks for a reply

No, I don't take any medication or supplements like vitamins or protein shakes. 

My diet not too bad, plenty of vegetables, salad, meat and fish.  although my main drink throughout the day is coffee and I eat chocolate on a daily basis. 

I'm slim build so not overweight. 

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There are lots of things that can elevate liver function tests, your doctors will need to rule out most of the common causes.  Have a look at what the British Liver Trust list under tests and screening here: britishlivertrust.org.uk/li...

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Please try not to worry, I agree with bantam.

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Hi. I had been diagnosed with non alcoholic fatty liver in recent years. Being over weight, sedentary and on medications.  Not cauaed by any alcohol buthad similar experience to you. In January after routine blood test my alt was double its normal elevated result . so at 103, GP fast tracked me for tests scans etc. However, I'd been on a healthy eating life change since the November and had list weight. So Dr couldn't fathom this elevation and suspected something sinister.Scans came back clear, gastroscopy clear. The only thing was when I had January blood test I was getting over the worst cold I'd had in tears, complete with cold remedies paracetamol and ibuprofen.... I was told in some cases viruses and weight loss due to diet changes, can in fact, alter your liver enzyme results. After a fibroscan in March at liver clinic, they said that was probably why my initial results had dramatically elevated... Fibroscan and bloods done at liver clinic cane back totally normal, even the non alcoholic fatty liver diagnosis was then questioned as there wasn't evidence on fibroscan of damage... I'm not saying ignore your results, but they could be elevated for a good few reasons, depending on size, health, and health at time of blood tests, and its routine to fast track and follow up as you gave mentioned when readings are kind if unexplained. It's a worry as I was convinced I must be really I'll, with my initial symptoms and blood results, but gladly in my case all well. It was a wake up call though and made me aware of taking care of what goes in my body as the important e of liver is seldom mentioned in everyday life. Easy nit tibraje it for granted. Hope this  helps you 

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There are other liver  diseases ....viral autoimmune e.g.primary biliary cirrhosis rarer in men but they can get it.problems with pancreas can cause usual lfts tests.

Ask your doc to do some antibody blood tests as they may show up an autoimmune disorder.

There is also a condition called fattu liver which can affect lfts.

Make sure you tell your doc again that you dont drink a lot of us have suffered from the medical profession  assuming we are secret drinkers!!!!  There are lots of reasons for problems withliver.

Hope you get some answers soon and hope this helps.best wishes cazer.

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Hi

Raised ggt and tiredness were my husband's early symptoms

Usound then showed cirrhosis and he doesn't drink

Discovered he had alpha 1 anti trypsin deficiency

It' s hereditary make sure u r tested 4 this

Good luck

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labtestsonline.org/understa...

labtestsonline.org/understa...

Make sure you scroll down the pages and click on to the tabs on top to read more. Hope this helps. Sometimes taking certain drugs, such as paracetamol, can affect certain people more than others (it is toxic to liver in high doses and over time, with regular use,  can thin your blood)  so make sure you discuss even over the counter drugs you take or have taken recently with doctor.

      Also,  eating a diet high in  fatty foods and/or sugar over time, even though you are not overweight (and eat healthy foods as well) can reflect in your GGT's as it might be damaging your over worked bile duct. for example;  All fats are broken down in liver with release of bile before passing it on to your small intestine, where further absorption takes place. The remaining unused waste is excreted. Fats and sugars should make up a very small proportion of our daily diet. Sorry if you already know all this...

    So,  have another look at your lifestyle habits if your ultrasound scan comes back normal. I am sure you doctor will help you get to the bottom of this... your readings are not massively outside the normal range and you do not mention your ALP's.

 Good luck!

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Thank you all for your replies, after a few days I'm not so tense about the whole situation. Although I am in more discomfort on right side just under my ribs and random itchy skin. With another blood test next week and a referral for an ultrasound, I'll update on results as and when I get them.

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I had more bloods taken yesterday, total of 5 tubes full and was quite surprised on the list the phlebotomist had on what they were testing. I did ask but she was very vague and just replied "a lot". When I sat down with my GP going through my previous results all she asked permission was for hepatitis a b and c. All of which I agreed. I have a follow appointment next Friday to go through yesterday's bloods so hopefully have an idea what has caused elevated enzymes. I phoned up the hospital again today to check on my ultrasound appointment but was told I have to wait 6 weeks (been 3 now) even though it's flagged up as urgent by my GP. As for my symptoms, fatigue is less but still hits me a few times a day, at least I am managing a full day work unlike a couple weeks ago. And I'm getting a lot of discomfort on right side which seems to be getting worse. 

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Got my results back today from 2nd blood test. ALT is slightly lower at 79, GGT has increased to 180. All clear on Hepatitis, autoimmune is clear too.

What was picked up is my white blood count has dropped to 3.8, as this is just below normal range not sure if I should be concerned. My GP has asked for another blood test in two week to compare white blood count. 

I'm still waiting for an ultrasound appointment which my GP is going to chase as it should of come through by now. In the mean time she has referred me to gastrologist for further investigations on LFT results and discomfort. 

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Hi Zuleiko.

Was wondering how you are doing after a year? I've got similar results, ALT 80, GGT 150-220. Currently 33 years old and have had these values for over 10 years... Doctors always stated, 'since you don't have any acute symptoms beside general fatigue, and we can't find anything, (hepatitis, auto immune, etc.) you're good to go so long as we keep it monitored'.

As of this year I have increased fatigue, crazy itchiness, and since a few weeks... Grey poop... The doctors have ramped up my 'urgency level', but once again the tests show nothing, including echo and biopsy.

Since a year ago I stopped drinking alcohol completely, (though I never had more than a pint a week) gone completely health food nuts, my weight is below average for my height... Have never even smoked a day in my life...

Worried that they still won't find anything now that the symptoms are acting up... Hope you have found some answers by now.

Rgds,

Mike

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Was it your gallbladder?

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I would advise all high GGT ,LFT to get checked for condition called Sarcoidosis. start with X-ray of the lungs where it normally shows first but it affects many organs.

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Alban1977, I received my blood work results for the GGT Test. It is 173, I have Sarcoidosis, diagnoses via liver biopsy in 2012. A lot of people still do not know much about sarcoidosis, but as I read Zuleiko’s messages, I was going to suggest getting tested for Sarcoidosis. Mine is multi-organ involved, including my liver.

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My daughter has had high ALT for 4 months, has had biopsy, ultrasound scan and MRI along with many blood tests. She has yellow eyes and skin and unbearable itching. No diagnosis yet (autoimmune and hep A, B, C, D and E ruled out and bile ducts look normal) but Questran has got rid of the itching which is a huge relief for her.

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I would like to know the final diagnosis, I have the exact problem as you have, please if your there I would like to know how you're doing.

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Hi Zuleiko28

I was wondering what you have learned from all of this. I am a 37 year old female and have the exact same issues started 4 months ago when I went on an all plant diet. Messed up my digestion and now the liver enzymes are climbing and have sever itchy skin all over. What did they find was the problem?

I have my ultrasound this tuesday. In generally good health.

thanks

Natasha

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Hi all.

Just an update (or lack of it).

I'm still undiagnosed but under 6 monthly reviews with my gastrologist. They are puzzled why my liver is constantly inflamed with high enzymes in blood tests. I have told they are considering liver biopsy to help diagnosis but not been scheduled in for it yet.

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I'm 10+ years with high liver results and still no diagnosis, good luck with the biopsy if you have one, mine showed nothing !

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Hi Zuleiko

I have similar problems to yourself with High GGT and ALT. Have been monitored for 6 months, now very unwell and having a biopsy Monday. Have never been a drinker. Specialist thought orginally mine was Toxic hepatititis but now they're not so sure. Do push for a biopsy if you're concerned. At least it will help give you peace of mind. All the best and hope you get well soon.

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Hi All , I would advise all high GGT ,LFT to get checked for condition called Sarcoidosis. start with X-ray of the lungs where it normally shows first but it affects many organs. I had they same for many years(nearly 20yrs) and finally had diagnostication with Sarcoid.

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I am also having the same condition. My GP spotted elevated levels of ALT (71) and GGT (80) about 18 months ago and after some blood tests referred my to a hepatologist. Since that I went through fibroscan, ultrasound scan and lots of blood tests: they ruled out autoimmune, Hepatitis, etc but cannot diagnose it as yet. Hepatologist found slightly lower than normal level of alpha-1 but not as low to be considered as a condition

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Hi all,

I’m 18 years old and have the same symptoms. My ALT was 443 at the last test 6 weeks ago and still rising. My GGT was 112 and serum ferritin was 209. I’ve got an insane amount of sickness and diarrhoea, up to 6+ times a day, itchy skin, slight jaundice and the pain is unbearable. Some days I can’t bear to walk anywhere.

So far I’ve had numerous ultrasounds, which show an enlarged spleen and liver, fatty liver infiltration and what looks like liver scarring. I’ve had a colonoscopy and endoscopy with multiple biopsies taken from my bowels (still waiting on results). I had a CT scan with contrast a few days ago and now have an appointment for a fibroscan and awaiting an appointment for a liver biopsy to be done. All the Hepatitis tests came back negative by the way

After being referred to my gastroenterologist they’ve found that my levels have been significantly raised for 4 years and that my old GP overlooked all the symptoms. My question is this: did anything come of this thread? I’m freaking out and getting weaker and sicker each day. But still no sign of any answers? Any help would be brilliant

Thanks,

Sawyer

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Research PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis). My 15 year old son's specialist is currently thinking this is what is going on with him. Rare, but your symptoms match and it is tied to autoimmune which is a medical guessing game.

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TN_mom has a valid point, if it is PSC it can be difficult to diagnose. PSC would usually present with a cholestatic picture in your liver test results. Basically your ALP and GGT will be raised. Although your ALT can, and usually is, also raised too and probably will be quite high if you are having a bit of a flare.

A couple of associations with PSC are Ulcerative Colitis and a raised p-ANCA blood test. Neither of which are specific and don't appear in all cases, they just add to the bigger picture to help point to a diagnosis.

In PSC one of the tests they can do is an MRCP (Magnetic Resonance Cholangio Pancreatography). Its just an MRI scan of you abdomen with a posh name. That will identify if there are any restrictions in your bile ducts, either within or outside of your liver. However, that may not always be the case and they may not show.

I appreciate that we are jumping to conclusions here, and it could be any number of things causing your problem. It does look like your doctor is taking things seriously though with all the tests, so you look to be in good hands. It really is a process of elimination and unfortunately it, and many other liver diseases, can take a long time to fully diagnose.

Good luck

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OOOh so sorry to hear you're so unwell. I can sympathise with you all the way. Are they going to do a liver biopsy? Sounds like you need one asap and an MRI. Have they tested you for toxic hepatitis? Specialist thought I had toxic hepatitis but are now not sure 6 months on, so having a liver biopsy in two days time. I do hope and pray you get some answers and respite from all the pain, nausea and all the other horrible side affects that come with a liver problem.

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Hi all.

I’ve had another MRI scan which has confirmed fat levels above normal range (8%) and signs of fibrosis (cT1 860ms). I’m also run down (fatigue and constant on/off cold flu symptoms) and mentally I’m up and down for no apparent reason. Apart from issue with my liver, life is pretty good so no reason to have mental issues. I do find myself ichying frequently (daily basis) although not as bad as I read other people’s itchy symptoms so not sure if this is linked to my liver.

My consultant has diagnosed me with NAFLD as fibrosis is not serious enough for NASH and is now considering discharging me back to my GP even though blood tests are still abnormal..

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I went in to the GP mainly for persistent stress headaches (which is gone now), I was told to do a blood test anyway, as I feared diabetes. Everything else was normal but my LFT came back with high reading for ALT (91) and GGT (76).

I informed the GP that I didn't smoke/ take any drugs, and very rarely drink alcohol and that I wasn't on any medication. After a week and a half I sat another blood test and results showed deterioration ALT (122), GGT (105) - over 3 times normal levels, while the other LFT levels are well within the normal range. So far my results for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C has returned negative.

I am 25, male and overweight (1.75m, 110 kg). I am fine and painfree otherwise. My profession requires me to be sedantary most of the day. I feel like this is a huge wake up call for me, already have changed my diet and started regular exercise.

I have got an abdominal ultrasound scheduled in 3 days time, feeling really anxious nonetheless.

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Hi All,

I had a reading of 270 for GGT a few months ago, a retest it went down to 150. A recent set of bloods have it over 400, so going for an ultrasound. 27 year old relatively healthy female, I drink a small amount, nothing to the extreme - any recommendations welcome!

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Hi you should do your own post you will get more responses.... for now you should cut all alcohol out and have a diet of fresh food no salt .. until the doctors figure out what is going on x

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I just posted on something similar...could well be fatty liver-how much do you drink? Weight could also be an issue.

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Hi, I don't drink very much, and I'm about 140pounds and 5ft 8 so about average. Interestingly, the last tests I mistakenly took paracetamol (which should have affected it) that morning and GGT actually went down to 115ish - could just be unexplained fluctuations.

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well you can have fatty liver and be normal weight-GGT does fluctuate-mine's been in the hundreds for years but recently down to 90 die to 3 months of sobriety so I'm relatively happy-still have fatty liver though. Working on weight...

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I have first signs of kidney disease (proteins in urine) and elevated GGT (173) - ALT is normal and AST is top end of normal. I am overweight and a fairly heavy drinker. Until recently I was also a smoker. So it seems that despite the bad test results I am doing a lot that is right. One of the things I do (and have done for 20+ years) is take high doses of vitamin C - until latest results I have been taking 3-5,000mg per day. This last few days I have increased this to 20,000mg according to the advice of Andrew Saul' doctor yourself book. Let's see. There are some essential oils that are good for liver and kidneys like Rosemary and Milk thistle.

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My GGT has been high for 9 years and I was only told that today by my new GP. I get “ monitored” every 6 months. I think I’ve had problems for years but GPs follow a book that pretty much tells them to ignore GGT. They’ve referred me back to the liver doc because they don’t actually know what the Heptologist means by monitor me. I’ve changed my diet for a year, 5 hours of exercise a week and although my alt is in normal range my ggt wont go down. I’m at 17% bf trying to go down further and I’m not sure what else I can do. I’ve given blood to see if reducing my ferritin helps. Has anyone else tried anything else that works? Everyone thinks I’m super fit and healthy and my wife thinks I’m crazy for worrying about this but I guess they wouldn’t have ranges if everything was ok.

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I had high liver enzymes for 5 years all my test results was ok nothing been found

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I have the same problem, my Alt is triple and all other tests came negative . Also I am healthy and never drink alcohol. I am not overweight thought

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