Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme naturally present throughout your body. It comes in many variations called isoenzymes. Each isoenzyme of ALP is different, depending on where in your body it’s made.
Your bones make an isoenzyme called ALP-2. Levels of this enzyme increase when bones are growing or bone cells are active.
An ALP bone isoenzyme test can detect abnormal levels of bone growth that may be associated with conditions such as:
- Paget’s disease of bone
- certain bone cancers
Other names for an ALP bone isoenzyme test include:
- an ALP-2 test
- bone-specific alkaline phosphatase test
- bone-specific ALP test
Doctors order an ALP-2 test if they’re concerned you may have a bone disease.
The symptoms of bone disease include:
- chronic bone and joint pain
- bones that are brittle or break easily
- deformed bones
An ALP-2 test can also be used to monitor bone disease treatment.
Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything for six to 12 hours before the test. You may be asked to stop certain medications before the test. Follow your doctor’s orders carefully. Your test results could be incorrect if you don’t.
Certain drugs may affect ALP-2 levels. These include:
- birth control pills
It’s important to tell your doctor about all the medicines you’re taking. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
The ALP bone isoenzyme test is a blood test.
A nurse or laboratory technician will draw your blood.
A tourniquet will be tied around your upper arm. A vein will be located for the blood draw. The area around it will be cleaned. A needle will be inserted, and blood will be drawn into a small vial. You may feel a slight pinch. Your blood will be sent to a lab for diagnosis.
Sometimes, blood may be taken from a vein on the back of your hand instead of from one inside your elbow.
The ALP bone isoenzyme range for healthy adults is 12.1 to 42.7.
Children have higher levels of ALP bone isoenzyme. ALP-2 is also elevated in people with broken bones. In both groups, bone growth is expected and normal.
Higher than normal levels of ALP bone isoenzyme could indicate a bone disease such as:
- osteoblastic bone tumors
- osteomalacia, or rickets
- Paget’s disease
An elevated test result could also indicate serious conditions such as hyperparathyroidism or leukemia. Both diseases affect your bones as well as other parts of your body.
Test results below normal are sometimes found in people with malnutrition or anemia. Results that are below normal can also be found in women who take estrogen after menopause. However, high levels are much more common than low levels.
The ALP bone isoenzyme test isn’t used to diagnose a disease on its own. It can only narrow down the list of causes for your symptoms.
If you have a positive test, further tests will probably be necessary. These tests will determine what type of bone disease you may have.