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Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found mainly in the liver and bones. Measuring it can indicate ongoing liver, gallbladder or bone disease.

What might a high result mean?

Raised levels can indicate bone disease or liver disorders such as a blockage in the bile duct, cirrhosis as well as gallbladder issues. Elevated ALP is assessed in conjunction with other liver function tests to determine whether the problem lies in the liver or the bones.

Pregnancy can also cause raised ALP as it is also made in the placenta, and it is often elevated in growing teenagers. This is because bones are growing, and since a large amount of ALP can be found in bones, its circulating levels increase.