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Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is found in nearly all body tissues, more prominently in blood cells and heart muscle. It’s produced when muscles and tissues are damaged due to common injuries or diseases. LDH has significance in preventing muscle failure and fatigue in numerous ways.
Frequently Asked Questions
When cells are damaged, the LDH enzyme is released into the fluid portion of blood. The fluid portion of the blood is called as serum. Sometimes LDH is also released into other body fluids; example: the cerebrospinal fluid. The cerebrospinal fluid is the one that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. This test is ordered when there is a fluid build-up due to injury or also when bacterial or viral meningitis is suspected.
- LDH test is ordered to see if you have tissue damage and to understand the extent of tissue damage
- To monitor some severe conditions like haemolytic or megaloblastic anaemia and some kidney and liver diseases.
- To monitor cancer treatment of certain types
LDH is a protein that normally appears throughout the body in small amounts, especially in active tissues such as heart, liver, kidney, etc. LDH levels rise above normal levels in various cancers, so LDH may be used as a tumor marker, but at the same time, it is not useful in identifying one specific type of cancer. Measuring LDH levels can be helpful in monitoring treatment for Cancer, to see if anticancer medications are working, as a measure of reduction in LDH levels. Noncancerous conditions that can elevate LDH levels include heart failure, hypothyroidism, anemia, and lung or liver disease.
An LDH blood test may be used:
- To detect and determine the severity of acute or chronic tissue damage
- To detect and monitor progressive conditions such as anaemia, including hemolytic anemia and megaoloblastic anemia, or severe infections, to check for progression of the disease
- To help stage, determine prognosis, and/or monitor treatment and efficacy of anticancer drugs (chemotherapy)
An LDH test is conducted on body fluids for a few different reasons:
- To help evaluate cerebrospinal fluid and distinguish between bacterial or viral meningitis
- To evaluate other body fluids such as pleural, peritoneal or pericardial fluid and help identify the cause of fluid accumulation-whether due to injury and inflammation (exudate), or due to an imbalance of pressure inside blood vessels and the amount of protein in the blood (transudate). This information is helpful in guiding treatment.
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