How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in
your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or
There is very little chance of a problem from
having blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You can
lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several
- In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood
sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used
several times a day to treat this.
- Ongoing bleeding can be a
problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and
other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have
bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell
your doctor before your blood sample is taken.
An alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test
measures the amount of the
enzyme ALP in the blood.
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
- Very high levels of ALP can be caused by
liver problems, such as
hepatitis, blockage of the bile ducts (obstructive
cirrhosis, liver cancer, or cancer that has spread
(metastasized) to the liver from another part of the body.
ALP levels can be caused by bone diseases, such as
rickets, bone tumors, or tumors that have spread from
another part of the body to the bone, or by overactive
parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism). Normal
healing of a bone fracture can also raise ALP levels.
- Heart failure,
mononucleosis, or kidney cancer can raise ALP levels.
A serious infection that has spread through the body (sepsis) can
also raise ALP levels.
- Women in the third
trimester of pregnancy have high ALP levels because
placenta makes ALP.
Conditions that lead to malnutrition
celiac disease) or are caused by a lack of nutrients
in the diet (such as
scurvy) can cause low ALP levels.