Lactate dehydrogenase is of medical significance because it is found extensively in body tissues, such as blood cells and heart muscle. Because it is released during tissue damage, it is a marker of common injuries and disease.
LDH works to prevent muscular failure and fatigue in multiple ways. LDH is a protein that normally appears throughout the body in small amounts. Many cancers can raise LDH levels, so LDH may be used as a tumor marker, but at the same time, it is not useful in identifying a specific kind of cancer. Measuring LDH levels can be helpful in monitoring treatment for cancer. Noncancerous conditions that can raise LDH levels include heart failure, hypothyroidism, anemia, and lung or liver disease.
An LDH blood test may be used:
• Indicator and 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 help stage, determine prognosis, and/or monitor treatment (i.e., chemotherapy) of cancers.
An LDH test is performed 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 determine whether the accumulation of fluid is due to injury and inflammation (exudate) or due to an imbalance of pressure within blood vessels and the amount of protein in the blood (transudate). This information is helpful in guiding treatment.
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