Background: To explore the gender difference of ALT elevation and its association with high hemoglobin levels. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 3547 adolescents (2005 females, mean age of 16.5?.3 years) who were negative for hepatitis B surface antigen received health checkups in 2006. Body mass index (BMI), levels of hemoglobin, ALT and cholesterol were measured. ALT >42 U/L was defined as elevated ALT. Elevated ALT levels were detected in 112 of the 3547 participants (3.3%), more prevalent in males than in females (5.4% vs. 1.4%, p<0.001). Hemoglobin levels had a significant linear correlation with ALT levels in both genders. Abnormal ALT started to occur if hemoglobin.11 g/dl in females or.13.5 g/dl in males, but the cumulative cases of elevated ALT increased more quickly in males. Proportion of elevated ALT increased as either the BMI or hemoglobin level rise, more apparent in male adolescents. Logistic regression modeling showed odds ratio (95% confidence interval) were 24.7 (15.0-40.6) for BMI ≥27 kg/m2; 5.5 (2.9-10.4) for BMI 24-27 kg/m2; 2.7 (1.3-5.5) for Q5 (top 20th percentile) hemoglobin level; and 2.6 (1.6-4.1) for male gender. Further separately fitting the logistic models for two genders, the significance of Q5 hemoglobin level only appeared in the males. Conclusions: High hemoglobin level is a significant risk factor of ALT elevation after control hepatitis B, obesity and gender. Males have greater risk of abnormal liver function which may be associated with higher hemoglobin levels.
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