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Old 10-08-2012, 07:31 PM   #1
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Need Info on the GGT

My husband is 58 yrs. old and a very heavy drinker. He will drink a case a day plus liquor and hardly eat any food. He recently tried to get life insurance and the nurse came out and took his blood. We got the results back and his AST is 119, ALP is 72 and the GGT is 596. He won't go to a doctor and I'm scared he has cirrhosis of the liver with the GGt being so high. I can't find anywhere on the internet about how high that GGT number is when it gets to the cirrhosis stage. Can anyone tell me anything about this, I've look up symptoms of it and he has the confusion real bad, shaking, he has a huge stomach but I thought it was from so much drinking, red itchy eyes, he stays tired, high blood pressure, his whites of his eyes looks yellowish and he keeps indigestion. Back in 2002 the doctor said he had a fatty liver. Can you please tell me about these numbers and how high the GGT usually is when you have cirrhosis. Thank you so much for your time and God Bless.

 
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:50 AM   #2
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Re: Need Info on the GGT

Hello there.

I am no doctor, but I have fatty liver and normal AST / ALT enzymes, and since I too have doubt about the influence in liver enzymes levels and liver damaged I asked in the following post something related to if the high level of liver enzymes really reflects how damaged the liver could be:

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/liver-pancreas-disorders/921434-fatty-liver-level-damaged-ast-alt.html

I have read elsewhere that liver enzymes do not point out the current liver damaged, and that even in cirrhosis stage liver enzymes could be normal.

Since your husband is so heavy drinker that's a potential cause of current very high liver enzymes cause currently the liver is inflamed, if he stop drink right now probably in 1 week his liver enzymes could be on normal level but liver damaged can be present either way.

To find out how damaged his liver is, or if he has already cirrhosis, there are other test to be done, like liver biopsy, blood work of bilirrubin (since you say he has like yellow on the white part of his eyes, that looks like jaundice so he should also check is bilirrubin levels in blood), also a CT scan of stomach to see if he has ascytes (for the big belly), also does he has spider angiomas on his chest or upper part of his body? that's another cirrhosis stage symptom too....

Last edited by shersita; 10-09-2012 at 05:04 AM.

 
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:19 AM   #3
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Re: Need Info on the GGT

The GGT is a great indicator of current inflammation, but a poor indicator of total damage...

The best lab indication of alcoholic liver disease is the ALT/AST inversion ratio. The ALT should always be higher than the AST, even when enzymes are elevated. When AST is higher than ALT, this is a bad sign. When AST reaches double the ALT, this is a good indication of major trouble with alcoholic liver disease, and a classic finding in alcoholic cirrhosis.

You state the AST and the ALP (alkaline phosphatase) in your post, but not the ALT. Do you have the ALT? It should be listed in the labs.

Albumin and platelets are also better indicators of cirrhosis than the GGT. Low albumin combined with low platelets is a bad sign. Do you have these labs?

Bilirubin, particularly "direct" bilirubin is also a good indicator of alcoholic liver disease. Bilirubin is sometimes elevated with gall bladder issues, but when direct bilirubin is elevated in heavy drinkers, this is another bad sign.

If your sweetheart isn't ready to quit alcohol at this point, you might ask him if he might consider cutting down. Many drinkers are reluctant to leave alcohol completely, but are willing to consider cutting back, and sometimes this can be a first step towards better health.

Switch to lite beer (at least during the day) and stop the hard liquor. Reduce drinking during the day, or try to start later in the day. These are a couple of things those who aren't ready to quit can often live with, and they can make all the difference in the world.

Best of Luck to you and your hubby.

Last edited by BillinSD; 10-09-2012 at 06:41 AM. Reason: addition

 
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:40 PM   #4
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Re: Need Info on the GGT

Hi BillinSD, thank you for your reply, they only gave us the numbers on AST, ALP & the GGT, I didn't know anything about a ALT. I've talked to him about stopping and he has it in his head that he has cirrhosis and there is no need to stop now even though he had me to read off the symptoms. I told him he needs to go to the doctor to find out whats going on and he won't go, so I don't know what to do. He knows several people that has died for cirrhosis of the liver and it was awful what they went through and he knows this and he still won't go to the doctor or even consider stopping. I thank you for your message, take care and God bless.

 
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:47 PM   #5
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Re: Need Info on the GGT

Hi shersita, I am trying my best to get him to go to the doctor, I thank you for your reply, take care and God bless.

 
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:49 PM   #6
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Re: Need Info on the GGT

Hello Darkgreeneyes.

I'm so sorry to read your husband don't want to put more effort to find out his condition. People usually think if they have cirrhosis they're not going to live too much so why stop doing more damage to the liver...but the thing is, that cirrhosis has different stages and according on what stage the cirrhosis is, the person whose have it could live several years if that person decide to take care ASAP of himself.

I have read in this same board, some people with cirrhosis stage, others with esophagal varices *don't know how to spell it* and other very risky life treating liver damaged conditions, and those people have live 10 and 15 years after diagnosed of cirrhosis, but why they have live that much? because they did put from their part to find out how advanced their cirrhosis was and what treatment they could do. (I even read one that post here he live with cirrhosis for 15 years then have a liver transplant and he still is alive).

Please, try to speak with your husband clear and direct, cirrhosis is not a death sentence, but the person who already has cirrhosis needs to find out the cirrhosis stage and needs to stop causing damaged to his liver.

I hope your husband reconsider his condition and find treatment for it.

Best of luck.

Last edited by shersita; 10-14-2012 at 03:51 PM.

 
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:35 AM   #7
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Re: Need Info on the GGT

I am close in age to your husband. I have early-stage cirrhosis, and since stopping drinking, along w/other dietary and lifestyle changes - my condition is currently fairly stable and I have a reasonably good quality of life. Sadly I never knew (until a yr ago) about the ALT/AST inversion. I've had this inversion for years, despite normal AST and ALT levels, all other labs normal...and my primary care doctors didn't know about it either. Why the h#&@!! the liver panel lab reports (to this day) do not monitor and flag it as an abnormal result escapes me completely. Result; I continued moderate drinking - unknowingly and slowly destroying my liver until it was too late, believing all along my docs' assurances that all was fine with my liver.
Yours is a sad and all-too-common situation. I'm very sorry to confirm your suspicions but your husband is indeed seriously ill - trust me: his labs and symptoms more than tell the story. The good news is that he CAN get better, but only if HE wants to; the human body (with its owner's cooperation and assistance) has an amazing ability to heal itself...to a point, anyway. He's also still young enough to potentially qualify for a liver transplant IF that should ever become necessary (...and hopefully it would not)...but that would require proof of an extended period of abstinence/sob-riety. If he is still drinking - and still refuses to see a doctor, then you have some very serious decisions to make. Do you have any family members (or anyone else close to him) who could possibly help w/an intervention? Do you and he have a pastor and/or a church family? Does he have any siblings or children? And/or any close friends? It sounds as though you need some assistance from SOMEONE - and I'm just mentioning possibilities. I wish you well in this challenging task, and do please let us know how things are going -

 
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:09 AM   #8
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Re: Need Info on the GGT

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkgreeneyes View Post
Hi BillinSD, thank you for your reply, they only gave us the numbers on AST, ALP & the GGT, I didn't know anything about a ALT. I've talked to him about stopping and he has it in his head that he has cirrhosis and there is no need to stop now even though he had me to read off the symptoms. I told him he needs to go to the doctor to find out whats going on and he won't go, so I don't know what to do. He knows several people that has died for cirrhosis of the liver and it was awful what they went through and he knows this and he still won't go to the doctor or even consider stopping. I thank you for your message, take care and God bless.
Hi -
Even if your sweetheart has cirrhosis, IF he will get help and stop drinking NOW - then his liver may eventually and sufficiently recover for him to have a reasonably normal life. Assuming that there is nothing else (such as a hepatitis virus) contributing to his liver damage, then by completely removing alcohol - and with positive dietary and lifestyle changes, the liver nearly always DOES improve. It could take up to a year or so to see major improvement, but these boards are full of accounts of people who did this! When cirrhotics fail to take care of themselves, continue drinking, etc...this is normally when the disabling ESLD (end stage liver disease) rears its ugly head. Blessings and best wishes to you!

 
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cirrhosis, cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver disease, liver, liver damage



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