Lactate Dehydrogenase

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Definition - What does Lactate Dehydrogenase mean?

Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) is a cell enzyme instrumental in converting sugar into energy. This enzyme is present throughout the cells of the body. However, when cellular damage occurs LDH is released. The presence of abnormally high levels of LDH in the blood plasma or other body fluids, such as cerebrospinal fluid, may indicate that the cells of the body have suffered damage or infection. LDH testing is used to diagnose a number of conditions.

SureHire explains Lactate Dehydrogenase

Elevated levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) may be indicative of disease, inflammation or a blood disorder. Sometimes doctors order an LDH test of a person's cerebrospinal fluid using a spinal tap in order to distinguish between viral and bacterial meningitis when making a diagnosis. Other conditions that may be indicated by elevated LDH levels include liver disease, anemia, broken bones, cancer, encephalitis and HIV. Monitoring changes in a patient's LDH levels can help physicians determine whether a chronic disease such as muscular dystrophy has progressed or if a particular treatment has been effective.

In the past, LDH was considered a cardiac biomarker but has since been replaced with more accurate indicators of myocardial infarction, or heart attacks. However, an abnormal LDH result may still be an indication of heart attack, stroke, or other conditions resulting in tissue damage.

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