I submitted myself for a routine medical exam last Wednesday. Blood tests, x-rays, physical, eye and dental exams were done. I knew I was completely healthy, except that I was worried about my x-rays – that they might see something there because I have been having on and off cough and colds, due to weather changes. I also did not get my annual dose of flu vaccine last year.
I got the results today (after two days), and surprisingly, they found something else, instead of abnormal x-ray findings. They found that my serum SGPT is elevated. How much, that I have to clear tomorrow to the doctor. I was informed on the phone that I have to see the doctor so she can prescribe something for this problem.
As a medical professional, I know I should not get worried about it because I know it is something that can be treated. But to be honest, I got really worried. First, something is wrong with my body. Second, I might be rejected from the job I am applying.
Serum Glutamic Pyruvic Transaminase (SGPT also known as Alanine Aminotransferase or ALT) is an enzyme that is normally found in the liver, but not exclusively. It is released into the blood during liver damage, so it is more or less a very good indicator of liver status.
The first thing that comes into my mind when SGPT is elevated is Hepatitis, especially viral. But then my blood tests included hepatitis screening, and I scored negative there. So I erase hepatitis from the list of possible culprits.
One cause of liver damage is alcoholism. But then I really don’t drink a lot. The last time I had alcohol was about middle of last month when my barkada fetched me from the airport, after my trip in Bacolod and Iloilo. We headed straight to a bar in Bulacan with some other friends before I went home. And I only had about three to four bottles of Lights. So I don’t think that I am that alcoholic for my SGPT to go up.
There are two possible causes of elevated SGPT which I believe could be related in my case. One is obesity, which can cause a fatty liver. The other one is chronic medication use.
I don’t think that I am that obese to make my SGPT shoot up, but I think I have been eating a lot of fatty foods lately which could have caused my liver to become fatty. A 24-hour recall of my dietary intake would really suggest a very poor dietary intake. Last night, I had fried chicken for dinner. I had longganisa with fried rice for breakfast this morning. And I had pork barbeque with java rice for lunch a while ago. It is just now I am realizing that I have been eating the wrong stuff!
Add to that, I have stopped going to the gym since late last year. A combination of lack of exercise and poor food choices could lead to a fatty liver.
Another factor that could have caused my elevated SGPT is my chronic medication use for the last few months due to on and off cough and colds. I initially treated myself with a self medication of antibiotics. When that did not work, I went to The Medical City for consultation. I was then subjected for two rounds of antibiotics, plus other cough medications. I have stopped taking those medications though, as I am only having my usual multivitamins and a supplemental dose of vitamin C.
Well, I can only wonder what really caused my present problem, till I see the doctor tomorrow. But starting this very moment, I think I should look after my health in a different perspective.
Maybe you should, too.
17 May 08 – I got to speak to the doctor. She also suspects fatty liver. She suggested for me to take Essentiale three times a day, and a low fat diet. I will repeat the blood test in a week. Good luck to me!