A blood test result can be a valuable diagnostic tool within the course of a physical examination. Blood plasma levels provide a basic metabolic panel that reveals the chemical processes taking place in the body. Normal test results are a good sign that the body is in good working order.
Enzymes are the biological catalysts of the body responsible for regulating every chemical process that takes place. The body contains 75,000 different enzyme materials, with each one assigned to a specific chemical process. These materials are made out of protein molecules that are designed to initiate chemical reactions between cells and cell structures. In effect, these materials are present in every area of the body which is why blood samples can provide vital information on the body’s enzyme activity.
Blood enzyme test results act as a miniature snapshot of the body’s chemical processes. Normal test results indicate that the body’s organs and system processes are functioning as they should. Major body processes involving heart, liver and kidney function utilize large amounts of enzyme materials. Normal blood test results will show a certain level of each enzyme within a profile. The amount of an enzyme within a blood sample serves as a “marker," meaning it provides an indication of whether or not a condition or disorder is developing within the body.
There are three main kidney enzymes present within a blood test panel: BUN, creatinine and uric acid. Normal test results for BUN, or blood urea nitrogen, will fall within a range of 7 to 18 deciliters (dL). A deciliter measures out at one-tenth of a liter. Normal creatinine levels will range between 0.6 to 1.2 dL. Results for uric acid will show a reading between 3 and 8.2 dL. When readings come back above or below these norms, infection, kidney disease or excess protein in the diet are some of the possible conditions present in the body.
Blood testing is one of the most common diagnostic tools used to screen for liver function. If the liver has sustained some sort of damage, its tissue will begin to break down. When this happens the enzymes contained in the tissue will enter the bloodstream. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) are the primary liver enzymes. Normal test results will show AST and ALP levels between 8 to 20 dL, while ALP readings will come in at 90 to 239 dL for males, and 76 to 196 dL for females.
Blood enzyme levels are used as a way to determine heart function, as well as any damage the heart may have sustained after a heart attack. As in the case of liver tissue, heart tissue releases enzymes into the bloodstream when damage has occurred. Creative kinase (CK) is an enzyme contained in the heart muscle. Normal test results for CK will fall below 174 dL in men and 140 dL or lower in women. Gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) is another prominent heart enzyme that also serves as a marker for kidney function. Normal GGT test results will range between 8 and 37 dL for men under 45 years of age and 5 to 24 dL for women under 45 years of age. The range for females who are 45 years or older changes to 6 to 37 dL as hormonal changes begin to effect different processes within the body.