Elevated alkaline phosphatase is associated with numerous signs and symptoms. According to Dr. Dicken Weatherby, a naturopathic physician and author of the textbook "Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis," alkaline phosphatase is a group of isoenzymes that originate in your bone, liver, intestines, skin and placenta. Isoenzymes are a collection of enzymes that catalyze the same chemical reaction but possess different structures and biochemical properties. High alkaline phosphatase suggests numerous possible health conditions, each with their own unique set of signs and symptoms.
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Biliary obstruction, also known as bile duct obstruction, can cause elevated alkaline phosphatase levels. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, biliary obstruction is a blockage of the tubes that transport bile from your liver to your gallbladder and small intestine. Numerous factors can cause biliary obstruction, including cysts in your common bile duct, enlarged lymph nodes, gallstones, inflammation of your bile ducts, trauma from gallbladder surgery, tumors of your bile duct or pancreas and other tumors that have spread to your biliary system. Along with elevated alkaline phosphatase levels, common signs and symptoms associated with biliary obstruction include upper right side abdominal pain, dark urine, fever, itching, jaundice or yellowing of your skin, pale-colored stools and nausea and vomiting. In addition to elevated alkaline phosphatase levels in your blood, you may also have increased blood levels of bilirubin and liver enzymes.
Rickets, a bone disease, can cause elevated alkaline phosphatase levels and numerous other signs and symptoms. FamilyDoctor.org states that rickets is a disorder that affects your bones, causing them to become soft and fracture easily. The most common cause of rickets is a lack of vitamin D, although rickets can also be an inherited condition. Rickets is most common in children. Weatherby states that bone diseases, such as rickets, cause increases in alkaline phosphatase that are proportional to new bone cell production. Along with high blood levels of alkaline phosphatase, common signs and symptoms associated with rickets include bowed legs, abnormally curved spine, thick wrists and ankles, delayed growth, muscle weakness and pain in your pelvis, spine and legs. According to MayoClinic.com, skeletal deformities, bone fractures and seizures are possible complications associated with rickets.
Liver cirrhosis, a progressive condition of your liver, can cause high levels of alkaline phosphatase in your blood. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, cirrhosis is a condition in which your liver deteriorates over time, eventually malfunctioning due to chronic injury. If you have liver cirrhosis, scar tissue has replaced a significant portion of your healthy liver tissue, which can block the flow of blood through your liver. Impaired liver function disrupts your liver's ability to control infections, remove toxins from your blood and process nutrients. Along with elevated blood levels of alkaline phosphatase, common signs and symptoms associated with liver cirrhosis include weakness, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain, itching and spider-like blood vessels on your skin. The NIDDK states that a diagnosis of liver cirrhosis is confirmed by physical examination, blood tests and imaging.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Bile Duct Obstruction
- FamilyDoctor.org: Rickets: What It Is and How It's Treated
- MayoClinic.com: Rickets
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Cirrhosis
- "Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis"; Dicken Weatherby, N.D.; 2002