Gamma Glutamyl Transferase
Understanding Gamma Glutamyl Transferase
What is Gamma Glutamyl Transferase?
A Gamma Glutamyl Transferase test measures the amount of GGT, a liver enzyme, in the body. This test is used to check for any blockage in the bile ducts and monitor the treatment response of liver diseases such as jaundice and hepatitis.
GGT is an enzyme that speeds up various chemical reactions in the body. It is abundantly found in the liver and in smaller quantities in many other body organs. The primary role of GGT is to transport molecules around the body. It also helps the liver metabolize medicines and other harmful substances (toxins) and aids in their elimination.
A GGT test is commonly used to detect liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or fatty liver disease. Your doctor may suggest this test when you show symptoms such as loss of appetite, belly pain and swelling, dark-colored urine, bruises, vomiting, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. It can also help identify alcohol-related liver problems, as GGT levels tend to rise with alcohol consumption. Usually, no special preparation is required for a GGT test. You may eat and drink as per your daily routine.
Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your specific test results. Narrate your complete medical history to help the doctor correlate your clinical and laboratory findings. The test results will help them get insights into liver health, identify potential liver or bile duct issues, and formulate an overall treatment plan.
What is Gamma Glutamyl Transferase used for?
A Gamma Glutamyl Transferase test is done:
- As part of a liver function test.
- To monitor an existing liver disease and its treatment response.
- To detect diseases associated with bile duct obstruction.
- When alkaline phosphatase (ALP) enzyme levels are elevated.
- To figure out if liver damage is due to a liver disease or bone disorder.
- To monitor alcohol use disorder.
What does Gamma Glutamyl Transferase measure?
Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) is an enzyme found in various organs, with the highest concentration in the liver. Usually, this enzyme is present in low levels in the blood. However, when there is liver damage or disease, GGT is released into the bloodstream, causing an increase in GGT levels. In addition to the liver, GGT can also be elevated in conditions affecting the bile ducts or the pancreas. It is usually, the first liver enzyme to rise in the blood when there is any damage or obstruction in the bile duct, making it one of the most sensitive liver enzyme tests for detecting bile duct problems.
Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gamma Glutamyl Transferase
Frequently Asked Questions about Gamma Glutamyl Transferase
Q. Why do I need a GGT test?
Q. Is fasting required before a GGT test?
Q. Is there any risk associated with a GGT test?
Q. What happens if my GGT level is high?
Q. What are the natural ways to manage GGT levels?
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- Lala V, Zubair M, Minter DA. Liver Function Tests. [Updated 2023 Apr 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; Jan. 2023. [Accessed 30 Jan. 2023]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482489/
- Stanford Health Care. Stanfordhealthcare.org. Published 2014. [Accessed 30 Jan. 2023]. Available from: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/liver-kidneys-and-urinary-system/chronic-liver-disease/diagnosis/liver-function-tests.html
- Australia H. Liver function tests. www.healthdirect.gov.au. Published 17 Sep. 2018. [Accessed 30 Jan. 2023]. Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/liver-function-tests