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Does alcohol intake increase the SGPT levels?

Answered by: Dr. Sanjiv Saigal
Gastroenterologist,
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital,
New Delhi

Q. In a recent medical examination I went through a complete liver profile and found that my SGPT was high (122u vs normal range of 20-70). SGOT and other tests related to the liver were in the normal range. The ultrasound for complete abdomen and pelvis showed that everything is normal including my liver. My cholesterol level was high (about 230mg/dl). I went through Anti HCV, HBsAg tests and both were negative. My thyroid level is also in the normal range. I had suffered from jaundice twice in the past about 12 years back. For almost 7 years I have been taking alcohol quite frequently. I had a complaint of acidity too. Whenever I take spicy food I get acidity and pain in the stomach which goes off by the next day. For the past 2 years I have been feeling little pain just below the right ribs in the middle and its more when I eat anything spicy. I consulted the doctor and she told me that high SGPT level could be due to alcohol intake in the past and it may take 3 months to bring the SGPT level down. I would like to take your advice on this? Is it true that alcohol intake increases SGPT?

A.  SGPT value of 122 certainly needs to be evaluated further to find out the cause. Alcohol is one of the most important offending agent for liver, but it typically causes a rise in SGOT which is more than SGPT (SGOT/SGPT ratio is more than 2). You have mentioned that your SGOT is normal, which is a bit odd for alcohol induced liver damage in your case. Other important causes for elevated SGPT include viral hepatitis B and C, fatty liver, certain hepatotoxic drugs, and autoimmune liver diseases. As you have history of two episodes of jaundice in the past also, you would need further evaluation to look for chronic hepatitis. Does your ultrasound mention fatty liver? As you are overweight, I would like to know your lipid profile. You will also need an upper GI endoscopy. You should consult a Gastroenterologist who can help in determining the exact cause for your liver problem. Meanwhile, you should certainly stop alcohol.

A.  SGPT value of 122 certainly needs to be evaluated further to find out the cause. Alcohol is one of the most important offending agent for liver, but it typically causes a rise in SGOT which is more than SGPT (SGOT/SGPT ratio is more than 2). You have mentioned that your SGOT is normal, which is a bit odd for alcohol induced liver damage in your case. Other important causes for elevated SGPT include viral hepatitis B and C, fatty liver, certain hepatotoxic drugs, and autoimmune liver diseases. As you have history of two episodes of jaundice in the past also, you would need further evaluation to look for chronic hepatitis. Does your ultrasound mention fatty liver? As you are overweight, I would like to know your lipid profile. You will also need an upper GI endoscopy. You should consult a Gastroenterologist who can help in determining the exact cause for your liver problem. Meanwhile, you should certainly stop alcohol.

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