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What is alkalinephosphatase?

Alkalinephosphatase or basic phosphatase is an enzyme, more specifically, ahydrolase enzyme. Alkaline phosphatase is produced in the several organsin the body, including the liver and the bones, and the placenta inunborn babies, and its concentration is highest in developing bonesand in bile. Role of alkaline phosphatase is to cut out the phosphategroup from some kinds of molecules. These molecules include proteins,alkaloids and nucleotides. The chemical process by which thephosphate group is cut out, that is, removed from a molecule is knownas dephosphorylation. Alkaline phosphatase got its name because it issuited for functioning in an alkaline environment. Alkalinephosphatase is secreted during processes that are normal for thebody, such as are bone growth and pregnancy, but another conditionthat stimulates secretion of alkaline phosphatase in the blood isinjury.

The normal level ofalkaline phosphatase in the organism is between 20 and 140 IU(international units, measure determined by biological activity ofthe substance) per liter. If level of alkaline phosphatase is outsidethis range, meaning that it is too high or too low, that could be asign of various health problems. For example, too high of aconcentration of Alkaline phosphatase might be a sign of obstructionof bile duct, or some bone disease or liver disorder. But it isimportant to note that level of alkaline phosphatase is high inchildren that are growing and women that are pregnant, and that thisis natural and normal. On the other hand, low level of alkalinephosphatase in the blood is indicating that there is some kind ofdeformation affecting the bones.

Causes of lowlevel of alkaline phosphatase

A low level ofalkaline phosphatase in the blood can be caused by a number ofmedical conditions. In here, we will mention only the most commondisorders that cause this condition.

Hypophosphatasiais a metabolic bone disease that is rare, but lethal in occurrencebut fatal to the sufferer. It is characterized by very low amount ofmineralization of the bones and early loss of teeth. It is caused bya gene mutation. Aplastic anemiais caused by insufficient productionof new blood cells. Its symptoms are constant fatigue, poor immunityand uncontrolled bleeding. Chronic myelogenous leukemia is a slowversion of leukemia, and it usually affects elderly persons.


Unfortunately,there is no treatment that can restore alkaline phosphatase levelfrom low to normal, but the condition can be controlled and thesymptoms can be somewhat reduced. Treatment is based onadministration of NSAIDs, alkaline phosphatase replacement compoundsand surgery. The type of treatment depends on the exact cause of thedisorder.

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