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Measuring the amount of ammonia in your blood is useful if an imbalance is suspected. When protein is broken down by the body, bacteria in the gut and cells produce ammonia. In this sense, it is a waste product that is recycled into urea. When urea is not properly disposed of, it causes other health problems.  This is the purpose of this blood test.

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High levels of ammonia may indicate the following:

  • Liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and hepatitis
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Encephalopathy of the liver
  • Bleeding in the intestines, stomach, esophagus, or other organs
  • Alcoholism and drug use, which includes narcotics and medications that absorb excess fluid from the body (diuretics)
  • Smoking and recent exercise – When muscles are active, they produce ammonia.
  • The use of a tourniquet
  • Failures of the liver and kidneys

There are numerous medical treatments available to reduce high ammonia levels, including:

  • Dialysis
  • Kidney or liver transplant
  • Kidney or liver transplant
  • Antibiotics (neomycin) or special sugars can be used to reduce the amount of ammonia in the blood or gastrointestinal tract (lactulose)

Ways to reduce issues include avoiding tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, m aintaining a healthy blood pressure, and reducing your protein intake.

What About Low Ammonia Levels?

A low ammonia level is usually the cause of extremely high blood pressure that appears suddenly and without warning. Low ammonia levels in the body are not a good sign.

To summarize, if in doubt, an ammonia level blood test should be performed.

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