AST/GOT

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The Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test is a blood test that measures the level of AST in the blood. AST is an enzyme found in various tissues throughout the body, but it is most commonly associated with the liver and heart. The test is used to evaluate liver function and to diagnose and monitor liver disease and other conditions that affect the liver or other organs that contain AST. The test is also sometimes used to monitor treatment of certain conditions or to assess the risk of complications during surgery. The AST test is a simple and relatively non-invasive procedure that involves drawing a small amount of blood from an arm vein. Results are usually available within a few days and are reported in units per liter (U/L) or international units per liter (IU/L).

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Awaiting result:

One day

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Collect material:

Blood

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Prepare:

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Purpose of the test

The aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test is a valuable tool for diagnosing and monitoring liver disease and other conditions that affect the liver or other organs that contain AST. The test measures the level of AST in the bloodstream, which may indicate liver damage or disease. Some of the possible reasons for performing the AST test include

- Diagnosing liver disease: The AST test is often used to diagnose liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or fatty liver disease. Elevated levels of AST in the blood may indicate liver damage or inflammation.

- Monitoring treatment: The AST test may also be used to monitor treatment for liver disease or other conditions that affect the liver. Regular testing can help doctors determine if treatment is working and make adjustments as needed.

- Assessing risk before surgery: The AST test can be used to assess a patient's risk of complications during surgery. Elevated levels of AST may indicate an increased risk of bleeding or other complications.

- Assessing heart health: While the AST test is primarily associated with liver function, it can also be used to assess heart health. Elevated levels of AST combined with elevated levels of another enzyme called creatine kinase (CK) can indicate a heart attack.

Early detection is key to the management and treatment of many health conditions, including those that affect the liver. The AST test can help detect liver damage or disease early, before symptoms become severe. This allows doctors to intervene early and prevent further damage to the liver.

On the other hand, not getting the AST test when it is recommended can have serious consequences. Liver disease can progress quickly and cause irreversible damage if left untreated. In some cases, it can even lead to life-threatening complications such as cirrhosis or liver failure.

An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) blood test is important for diagnosing and monitoring liver disease, assessing risk before surgery, and evaluating heart health. Early detection is key to the management and treatment of many health conditions, including those that affect the liver. Failure to take the test when recommended can have serious consequences, including irreversible liver damage or life-threatening complications.

Who Should Get Tested

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) testing may be recommended for people who are at risk for liver disease or other conditions that affect the liver. Some of the groups of people who may benefit from AST testing include

- People with a family history of liver disease: If you have a family history of liver disease, your doctor may recommend AST testing to help assess your risk.

- People with obesity or diabetes: Both obesity and diabetes are risk factors for liver disease. If you have either of these conditions, your doctor may recommend regular AST testing to monitor your liver function.

- People who drink alcohol excessively: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage and increase the risk of liver disease. If you drink heavily, your doctor may recommend AST testing to monitor your liver function.

- People who have been exposed to hepatitis: If you have been exposed to the hepatitis virus, your doctor may recommend AST testing to assess your risk of developing hepatitis or other liver disease.

- People taking medications that can damage the liver: Certain medicines can cause liver damage or inflammation. If you are taking medications known to affect the liver, your doctor may recommend regular AST testing to monitor your liver function.

Note that not everyone in these groups needs an AST test. Your doctor will consider your individual health history and other factors before recommending any tests or treatments.

Preparing for the Test
Fasting
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Depending on the type of cholesterol test, you may be required to fast for 9 to 12 hours before the test. This means avoiding all food and drinks except water. Fasting is usually required for a lipid panel, which measures LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Medications
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Inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, as they can affect your test results.
Alcohol
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Avoid alcohol consumption for at least 24 hours before the test, as alcohol can raise triglyceride levels.
Exercise
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Avoid heavy exercise for 24 hours before the test, as this can also affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Smoking
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Avoid smoking or using any nicotine products for at least 30 minutes before the test, as they can temporarily increase cholesterol levels.
Follow instructions
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Follow any specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider, such as the time of day to take the test or any dietary restrictions.
Interpreting Test Results

Results of an aspartate aminotransferase (AST) blood test are usually reported in units per liter (U/L) or international units per liter (IU/L). The normal range for AST levels can vary depending on the laboratory that analyzed the sample, so it is important to look at the reference range provided on your test report. In general, normal AST levels are

- For men: 10-40 U/L
- For women: 9-32 U/L

Elevated AST levels may indicate liver damage or disease, but may also be caused by other factors such as muscle injury or certain medications. The severity of the elevation can provide additional information about the extent of liver damage. For example:

- Mild elevation: 2-3 times the upper limit of normal
- Moderate elevation: 4-6 times the upper limit of normal
- Severe elevation: More than 10 times the upper limit of normal

Be aware that elevated AST levels do not necessarily mean that you have liver disease. Additional testing and evaluation may be needed to determine the cause of elevated AST levels and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Interpreting aspartate aminotransferase (AST) blood test results involves looking at the reference range provided on your test report and comparing your results to that range. Elevated AST levels may indicate liver damage or disease, but additional testing and evaluation may be needed to determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.

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