Our expert says:
Elevated GGT levels indicate that something is going on with your liver but not specifically what. In general, the higher the level the greater the “insult” to your liver. Elevated levels may be due to liver disease, but they may also be due to congestive heart failure, alcohol, and use of many prescription and non-prescription drugs including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), lipid-lowering drugs, antibiotics, histamine blockers (used to treat excess stomach acid production), antifungal agents, seizure control medications, antidepressants, and hormones such as testosterone. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) and clofibrate can decrease GGT levels
Even small amounts of alcohol within 24 hours of your GGT test may cause a temporary increase in the GGT. If this occurs, your doctor may want to repeat the test to verify that it is normal.
GGT levels fall after meals, so it is best to be tested when you have not eaten for at least 8 hours.
Smoking can also increase GGT.
Levels of GGT increase with age in women, but not in men, and are always somewhat higher in men than in women.
Very high levels of ALT (more than 10 times the highest normal level) are usually due to acute hepatitis, often due to a virus infection. In acute hepatitis, ALT levels usually stay high for about 1–2 months, but can take as long as 3–6 months to come back to normal.
ALT levels are usually not as high in chronic hepatitis, often less than 4 times the highest normal level: in this case, ALT levels often vary between normal and slightly increased, so doctors typically will order the test frequently to see if there is a pattern. In some liver diseases, especially when the bile ducts are blocked, when a person has cirrhosis, and when other types of liver cancer are present, ALT may be close to normal levels.
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