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Free Fatty Acids, Total, Serum

Free fatty acids in serum are used to assess the metabolic status of individuals with endocrine diseases, to test for pheochromocytoma and glucagon, thyroid, and adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting tumors as well to monitor diabetes mellitus.

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Almost all serum fatty acids, except for 2-5%, are esterified. Non-esterified or free fatty acids (NEFA) are found in serum bound to proteins and are readily ready for the metabolic needs of the body. The concentration of free fatty acids in the serum usually increases after a fatty meal, but remains steadily elevated in obesity. Free fatty acids can be used directly by muscles, heart, brain, and other organs as a source of energy whenever there are insufficient amounts of glucose in the bloodstream. Both glucose and free fatty acids are absorbed by the blood at the same time, even under normal conditions. When blood glucose levels are high, the levels of free fatty acids decrease and vice versa.

Lipoactive hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon, thyroid hormone, and adrenocorticotropic hormone increase, in normal conditions, the concentration of free fatty acids. The tumors that produce such hormones cause the release of excessive amounts of free fatty acids. Free fatty acids in serum are also increased in patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and are an indicator of insulin resistance. Free fatty acids are associated with increased concentrations of reactive oxygen radicals (ROS), possibly as a result of the activation of NADPH oxidase by the free fatty acids. The link between increased ROS and reduced production of nitric oxide (NOx) contributes to endothelial dysfunction.



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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