About all

Alt and ast elevation causes: Elevated Alt and Ast in an Asymptomatic Person: What the primary care doctor should do?

AST Test: MedlinePlus Medical Test

What is an AST Test?

AST (aspartate aminotransferase) is an enzyme that is found mostly in the liver, but it’s also in muscles and other organs in your body. When cells that contain AST are damaged, they release the AST into your blood. An AST blood test measures the amount of AST in your blood. The test is commonly used to help diagnose liver damage or disease.

Other names: SGOT test, serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase test; aspartate transaminase test

What is it used for?

An AST blood test is often part of a routine blood screening to check the health of your liver. The test may help diagnose or monitor liver problems. It may also help diagnose other health conditions.

Why do I need an AST blood test?

You may get an AST blood test as part of your routine checkup or if you have symptoms of liver damage. These may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice, a condition that causes your skin and eyes to turn yellow
  • Swelling and/or pain in your abdomen (belly)
  • Swelling in your ankles and legs
  • Dark-colored urine (pee) and/or light-colored stool (poop)
  • Frequent itching

Even if you don’t have symptoms, your health care provider may order an AST blood test if you’re more likely to develop liver disease because of:

  • A family history of liver disease
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Taking certain medicines that can cause liver damage
  • Hepatitis or exposure to hepatitis

What happens during an AST blood test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an AST blood test. But an AST test is usually ordered with other blood tests. You usually need to fast (not eat or drink) for up to 12 hours before these tests. Your provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

High levels of AST in the blood may be a sign of hepatitis, cirrhosis, mononucleosis, or other liver diseases. High AST levels may also be a sign of heart problems or pancreatitis.

If your results are not in the normal range, it doesn’t always mean that you have a medical condition that needs treatment. Many things can affect your results, such as certain medicines and your age, sex, and diet. To learn what your results mean, talk with your provider.

Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

Is there anything else I need to know about an AST blood test?

Your health care provider may order an ALT blood test with your AST blood test. ALT stands for alanine transaminase, which is another type of liver enzyme. If you have high levels of AST and/or ALT, it may mean that you have some type of liver damage.

You may also have an AST test as part of a group of liver function tests that measure ALT, and other enzymes, proteins, and substances in the liver.


  1. American Liver Foundation. [Internet]. New York: American Liver Foundation; c2017. Diagnosing Liver Disease – Liver Biopsy and Liver Function Tests; [updated 2020 Feb 17; cited 2022 Feb 14]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://liverfoundation. org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diagnosing-liver-disease/
  2. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth’s Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Aspartate Aminotransferase; p. 68–69.
  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests; [cited 2022 Feb 14]; [about 15 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
  4. Testing.com [Internet]. Seattle (WA).: OneCare Media; c2022. Aspartate Aminotransferase: The Test; [modified 2021 Nov 9; cited 2022 Feb 14; [about 14 screens]. Available from: https://www.testing.com/test/aspartate-aminotransferase-ast/
  5. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Aspartate Transaminase; [cited 2017 Mar 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www. urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=aspartate_transaminase

AST (SGOT): Liver Function Test

Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps.

1. Please switch auto forms mode to off.

2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc).

3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow.

You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.




Contact Us


Ask a Question

Toll Free Numbers


Hospitals and Clinics

Vet Centers

Regional Benefits Offices

Regional Loan Centers

Cemetery Locations

VA »

Health Care »

Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease

» Hepatitis C » What’s New » For Patients


AST (SGOT): Liver Function Test



  • Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease
  • More Health Care

Quick Links


AST (SGOT): Liver Function Test

Hepatitis C

AST, or aspartate aminotransferase, is one of the two liver enzymes. It is also known as serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase, or SGOT. AST is a protein made by liver cells. When liver cells are damaged, AST leaks out into the bloodstream and the level of AST in the blood becomes elevated. AST is different from ALT because AST is found in parts of the body other than the liver—including the heart, kidneys, muscles, and brain. When cells in any of those parts of the body are damaged, AST can be elevated.

Explanation of test results:

A high AST level often means there is some liver damage, but it is not necessarily caused by hepatitis C. A high AST with a normal ALT may mean that the AST is coming from a different part of the body. It is important to realize that the AST level in most patients with hepatitis C goes up and down. The exact AST level does not tell you how much liver damage there is, or whether the liver is getting better or worse, and small changes should be expected. However, for patients receiving treatment for hepatitis C, it is helpful to see if the AST level goes down.

Other things to know:

  • The AST level is not as helpful as the ALT level for checking the liver.
  • Many patients with hepatitis C will have a normal AST level.
  • Patients can have very severe liver disease or cirrhosis and still have a normal AST level.

< PreviousJust Diagnosed MainNext >

ALT and AST what is it?

ALT ( alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase) – belong to aminotransferase enzymes involved in amino acid metabolism. They are also called liver enzymes. They are found mainly in the cells of the liver and in other organs: the pancreas, heart, kidneys, muscle tissue. A small amount of ALT and AST may appear in the blood due to physiological processes. However, in case of liver diseases (infectious or toxic hepatitis, tumor), damage to the liver cells occurs, the permeability of cell membranes is impaired and a large amount of ALT and AST enzymes are released into the blood – as a result, a cytolytic syndrome develops.

ALT and AST transaminases are specific markers of liver disease. Indications for their appointment may be the following:

  • Presence of symptoms: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and sclera, lethargy.
  • laboratory diagnostics of liver diseases: viral hepatitis A, B, C, toxic hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (steatohepatitis), alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Monitoring the dynamics of therapy for liver diseases.

Norms for the content of liver enzymes in the blood:

Age Men Women Units
0-1 years 13-45 U/ml
1-60 years old 10-40 7.0-35.0
60-90 years old 13.0-40.0 10.0-28.0
Over 90 years old 6. 0-38 5.0-24.0

Reasons for increasing ALT, AST (hepatic and extrahepatic)

Increase in ALT, AST Acute viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus) Hemolysis
Chronic hepatitis B, C Hypoxic hepatitis
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Decreased thyroid function
autoimmune hepatitis Intense physical activity
drug-induced hepatitis Macro-AST-emia syndrome
α1-antitrypsin deficiency celiac disease
Wilson’s disease
hereditary hemochromatosis

The level of ALT in acute viral or drug-induced hepatitis can rise 50 times or more. With steatohepatitis and alcoholic liver disease, the increase in ALT is moderate – no more than 5 times. In chronic hepatitis, there is an increase in ALT by about 7 times. In cirrhosis, ALT and AST values ​​increase by 3-5 times, while AST may be higher than ALT.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body experiences an increased load, so there may be a slight increase in transaminases.

Currently, macro-AST-emia syndrome has become known – this is a rare condition in which complexes are formed in the human body from the AST molecule and immunoglobulin. This condition may be hereditary or associated with liver disease. It is characterized by a prolonged and asymptomatic increase in alanine aminotransferase in the blood.

An important diagnostic value is not only an increase in the level of transaminases, but also a decrease. A decrease in ALT and AST below normal indicates end-stage cirrhosis or severe liver damage in hepatitis. This is an extremely unfavorable sign, as it indicates the total destruction of liver cells.

The norm of ALT and AST in the blood test in women: what you need to know


  • 1 The norm of ALT and AST in the blood of women: what indicators are the norm and what do the deviations say?
    • 1. 1 Blood test norm for women: ALT and AST
    • 1.2 What is a blood test?
    • 1.3 What do ALT and AST mean?
    • 1.4 Why is it important to know the ALT and AST levels?
    • 1.5 How is ALT and AST analyzed?
    • 1.6 How do I prepare for an ALT and AST test?
    • 1.7 Norm of ALT and AST in women: age characteristics
    • 1.8 What diseases can affect the level of ALT and AST in the blood of women?
    • 1.9 What should I do if my ALT and AST levels are elevated?
    • 1.10 What factors can increase blood levels of ALT and AST?
    • 1.11 Can I decode the results of ALT and AST analysis myself?
    • 1.12 Q&A:
        • What is ALT and AST in a blood test?
        • What causes an increase in ALT and AST levels?
        • What are the norms for ALT and AST in women?
        • Can elevated levels of ALT and AST in women be associated with medication?
        • Can elevated levels of ALT and AST in women indicate cancer?
        • 1. 12.0.6 What should be done if the level of ALT and AST in the blood of a woman is elevated?
    • 1.13 Related video:

Find out what the norm of alt and ast means in a blood test for women. Which values ​​are normal, and which may indicate diseases. The importance of timely and correct decoding of a blood test for maintaining health.

The results of a biochemical blood test are one of the key indicators of the health of the body. It is especially important to correctly interpret the level of AST (aspartate aminotransferase) and ALT (alanine aminotransferase), as they are a reflection of the work of the liver. Blood tests for AST and ALT are often prescribed in combination with other indicators to assess liver function, determine the nature of the disease and monitor the progress of treatment.

For women, normal levels of AST and ALT may differ slightly from those for men, in addition, during pregnancy and some other conditions, there may be significant changes in enzyme levels. Therefore, it is important to know the features of the interpretation of the results and the possible causes of deviations from the norm.

In this article we will tell you what are the norms of blood levels of AST and ALT in women, what means their increase or decrease, as well as what factors can affect the result of the tests. If you find deviations from the norm, do not panic, perhaps this is a temporary phenomenon, but additional consultation with a doctor and diagnosis of the condition of the liver is necessary.

Blood test norm for women: ALT and AST

ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase) are enzymes that are found in the cells of the liver, heart, muscles and other tissues of the body. Their level in the blood can be increased in diseases of these organs, as well as in other pathologies.

ALT in women is between 7 and 31 units per liter of blood, depending on age and lifestyle. For example, in women over 60, this figure may be higher. Also, in women who play sports or take certain medications, ALT levels may be elevated.

The norm of AST in women is from 7 to 31 units per liter of blood. An increase in AST levels can be associated with diseases of the liver, cardiovascular system, as well as muscle injuries.

It is important to remember that ALT and AST levels may differ depending on the laboratory where the blood was tested. Therefore, the doctor should interpret the results, taking into account all the factors affecting the level of these enzymes.

What is a blood test?

A blood test is a laboratory study of the biological fluid that circulates through a person’s blood vessels. This analysis is one of the most common methods for diagnosing many diseases, as well as monitoring the state of the body, both in case of deterioration and improvement of its health.

A blood test goes through many stages, from taking blood to interpreting the results. When conducting an analysis, various factors should be taken into account, such as age, gender, physical condition, the presence of chronic diseases and the use of drugs.

Various blood tests, such as hemoglobin, leukocytes, platelets, ALT, AST and many others, may indicate various diseases or abnormalities in the body.



What do ALT and AST mean?

ALT and AST are enzymes found in liver cells. ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase) can be used as indicators of liver damage. These enzymes are released from liver cells into the bloodstream when an organ is damaged or diseased, and their levels can indicate how severe the damage is.

Normal levels of ALT and AST in a woman’s blood may vary depending on age, general health, and the laboratory that performs the test. Generally, ALT and AST levels are slightly higher in men than in women.

High levels of ALT and AST in a woman’s blood may indicate the presence of liver disease or other diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver tumors. However, elevated levels of ALT and AST may also be indicative of other non-liver related conditions, such as heart failure.

Why is it important to know the norms of ALT and AST?

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) are enzymes found in liver and heart cells. If their level in the blood is elevated, this may indicate damage to the cells of these organs.

Measurement of ALT and AST levels in the blood is an important blood test that provides information about the condition of the liver and heart in women. Elevated levels of ALT and AST may indicate various diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, heart failure, and others.

ALT and AST values ​​may be indicative and may vary depending on the woman’s age, sex and lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to know the norm of ALT and AST for women in order to make it easier to determine the presence of any diseases.

If ALT and AST are elevated, see a doctor who can diagnose and suggest treatment. Treatment may be aimed at eliminating the causes of increased enzyme levels, as well as restoring liver and heart function.

How are ALT and AST analyzed?

The ALT and AST test is a common blood test. Usually, blood is taken from a vein in the elbow for analysis. Before passing the analysis, you must follow the rules of preparation.

In particular, fatty and protein foods, as well as alcohol, must be avoided approximately 24 hours before the analysis. 2-3 hours before blood collection, you should completely exclude food and drinks.

After the blood has been collected, it is sent to a laboratory where it is analyzed for ALT and AST levels. The results of the analysis are usually ready in a few days.

When analyzing ALT and AST, be aware that the results may vary depending on age, sex, physical activity and the use of certain medications. Therefore, before the analysis, it is necessary to consult a doctor and follow the recommendations for preparation.

How to prepare for ALT and AST analysis?

The analysis of ALT and AST requires some preparation in order for the results to be accurate and reliable. Here are some tips to help you properly prepare for this analysis.

  • Refusal of food 8-12 hours before the test. It is best to take the test in the morning on an empty stomach so as not to affect the results. This means that 8-12 hours before blood collection, you need to refuse food.
  • Medication withdrawal. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any medications. Some medicines may interfere with the results of the test. If your doctor thinks you need to stop taking your medication, it’s best to follow their advice.
  • Refusal of alcohol one day before the analysis. Alcohol can interfere with test results, so alcohol should be avoided the day before the test.
  • Maintaining rest and avoiding exercise. Physical activity can also affect the results of the test, so the day before the test, you should avoid physical activity and keep calm.
  • Blood collection compliance. To obtain accurate and reliable results, the rules for blood collection must be followed. The blood collection process itself should not take more than 5-7 minutes and take place in a sterile environment.

By following these guidelines, you can be confident that your ALT and AST results will be reliable and will help your doctor make the right diagnosis and treatment.

The norm of ALT and AST in women: age characteristics

ALT and AST are important indicators of the functional state of the liver, determined in the blood.

It is possible to establish the norm of ALT and AST in the blood of women only taking into account age characteristics.

So, for example, in women under the age of 50, the ALT norm is up to 31 units per liter of blood, and in women over 50 years old – up to 35 units.

The norm of AST for women under the age of 50 is up to 31 units per liter of blood, after 50 years – up to 35 units.

It should also be noted that during pregnancy, women may experience changes in ALT and AST levels, which usually return to normal after childbirth.

In any case, if you find abnormalities in ALT and AST, you should contact a specialist for further diagnosis and treatment.

What diseases can affect the blood levels of ALT and AST in women?

Blood levels of ALT and AST in women can increase as a result of various diseases. For example, hepatitis is one of the main causes of elevated levels of ALT and AST. This is due to the fact that these enzymes are found in high concentration in the liver, and in hepatitis, the liver tissue can be damaged, which leads to the release of large amounts of ALT and AST into the blood.

Other diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and cancer can also affect ALT and AST levels. Elevated levels of these enzymes may be associated with muscle damage, so people with myopathy or other muscle conditions may also experience elevated blood levels of ALT and AST.

In addition, diseases that affect the biliary tract, such as gallstones and cholangitis, can also increase ALT and AST levels. The levels of these enzymes may also increase in women with cardiovascular disease such as myocardial infarction or arrhythmias.

  1. Hepatitis;
  2. Cirrhosis of the liver;
  3. Oncological diseases;
  4. Muscular diseases;
  5. Gallstone disease;
  6. Cholangitis;
  7. Cardiovascular diseases;

What if the ALT and AST levels are elevated?

If ALT and AST levels are elevated in a woman’s blood test, a doctor should be consulted for diagnosis and possible causes. Perhaps an increase in the level of these indicators may indicate diseases of the liver or other organs.

Your doctor may order additional tests, such as an ultrasound of the liver, a CT scan, or a liver biopsy, to help diagnose. In addition, it is necessary to analyze urine and blood for the presence of infections, viruses and other pathological processes.

If the reason for the increase in ALT and AST levels is related to the disease, it is necessary to undergo treatment prescribed by a doctor. This may include medication, diet, and other measures, depending on the specific disease and its stage.

In addition, women who have high ALT and AST levels should lead a healthy lifestyle, give up addictions and watch their diet. It is recommended to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits consumed, reduce the intake of fatty and fried foods, and also pay attention to the quantitative and qualitative composition of food.

  • see a doctor for diagnosis;
  • complete the required tests;
  • get treated by a doctor;
  • lead a healthy lifestyle and watch your diet.

What factors can increase blood levels of ALT and AST?

Preparations. In addition to drugs that counteract liver disease, many drugs can increase the level of ALT and AST in the blood, such as antiviral drugs, anabolic steroids, anticancer drugs, and others.

Alcohol. Regular alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage and possible increase in blood levels of ALT and AST.

Wrong diet. Excessive consumption of fatty and fried foods can lead to impaired liver function and increased levels of ALT and AST in the blood.

Inflammatory diseases of the liver. Viral, alcoholic or autoimmune hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, fatty degeneration cause liver inflammation, which increases the level of ALT and AST in the blood.

Examples of drugs that can increase ALT and AST in the blood Drug Group

Aspirin Analgesic
Antibiotics Antibacterial drugs
Paraketamol Analgesic
Ampicillin Antibacterial drugs

code the results of the analysis of ALT and AST?

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) are enzymes that are found in liver cells without penetrating into the blood. They are released into the blood only under pathological conditions of the organ. Changes in the levels of these enzymes indicate damage to liver and/or heart cells.

ALT and AST analysis results may only be decoded by qualified medical personnel after examining the patient and performing other investigations.

Although regular analysis of ALT and AST levels helps to identify possible diseases in the very early stages, you should not try to diagnose yourself. The best solution is to consult with your doctor.


What is ALT and AST in a blood test?

ALT and AST are enzymes found in the cells of the liver, heart, muscles, and other organs. If their blood levels are elevated, this may indicate damage to the cells of these organs.

What causes ALT and AST levels to rise?

Elevated levels of ALT and AST in the blood may be associated with diseases of the liver (hepatitis, cirrhosis), cardiovascular system (heart attack, cardiomyopathy), muscles (muscular dystrophy) and other organs.