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Employer wellness screening results explained - ALT and AST

What is Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)?

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is a liver enzyme that is made only by liver cells. When liver cells are damaged, ALT can leak into the bloodstream, creating an elevated ALT level in the blood. A simple blood test can be used to measure ALT levels. A normal ALT range for adults is between 6 and 29 units per liter.1

What do high ALT levels mean?

Consistently elevated ALT levels can be the result of liver diseases such as hepatitis, which may be seen with viral infection, fatty liver changes, autoimmune disorders, or toxin exposures such as alcohol, chemicals, or medications. A high ALT level often presents itself before liver disease symptoms occur.2

What is Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)?

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme found in the liver and in cardiac and skeletal muscle.  When liver or muscle cells are damaged, AST can leak into the bloodstream, causing levels of AST in the blood to be higher than normal.

An AST screening result shows you how much of this enzyme is present in the bloodstream. A normal AST measurement for adults is between 10 and 30 units per liter.1 

What do high AST levels mean?

An elevated level of AST can mean that you are at a higher risk for liver disease, as well as heart and muscle disorders.1 AST levels can be elevated even before any signs or symptoms of disease appear.2 Slightly elevated AST levels can also be found in individuals who are experiencing muscle injuries.

Why screen for ALT and AST?

Employers can offer ALT and AST as test measures in their yearly biometric screening panel to help individuals assess liver function. These liver function tests could alert an individual to a potential health risk before symptoms occur. 

To see how Quest can help you tailor service offerings to fit the needs of your employee populations, contact us. 

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1. American Liver Foundation. “Liver Function Tests. “ 2016. Accessed September 3, 2021. 

2. US Department of Veterans Affairs. “AST (SGOT).” 2021. Accessed September 3, 2021.