Liver Function Tests

a liver function test

What Are Liver Function Tests?

Liver function tests assist determine the health of your liver by measuring the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, or bilirubin in your blood.

A liver function test is often given in the following circumstances:

  • to screen for liver infections, such as liver disease C
  • to monitor the side effects of particular medications known to influence the liver
  • if you currently have a liver disease, to keep track of the disease and how well a particular treatment is working
  • to determine the degree of scarring (cirrhosis) on the liver
  • if you’re experiencing the symptoms of a liver condition
  • if you’re planning on conceiving

Many tests can be carried out on the liver, but most of them don’t determine the total function of the liver. Typically utilized tests to check liver function are the alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), albumin, and bilirubin tests. The ALT and AST tests measure enzymes that your liver releases in reaction to damage or disease. The albumin and bilirubin tests determine how well the liver produces albumin, a protein, and how well it disposes of bilirubin, a waste product of the blood.

Unusual outcomes on any of the liver function tests don’t always suggest you have liver disease or damage. Talk to your doctor about the outcomes of your liver function test.

What Are one of the most Common Liver Function Tests?

Liver function tests are utilized to measure specific enzymes and proteins in your blood. Depending on the test, either higher- or lower-than-normal levels of these enzymes or proteins can suggest a problem with your liver.

Some common liver function tests include:

Alanine Transaminase (ALT) Test

Alanine transaminase (ALT) is used by your body to metabolize protein. If the liver is harmed or not functioning correctly, ALT is launched into the blood. This causes ALT levels to enhance. A high outcome on this test can be a sign of liver damage.

Aspartate Transaminase (AST) Test

Aspartate transaminase (AST) is an enzyme discovered in several parts of your body, consisting of the heart, liver, and muscles. Because AST levels aren’t certain for liver damage, it’s usually measured together with ALT to check for liver issues. Your doctor might use an ALT-to-AST ratio in order to help with their medical diagnosis. When the liver is harmed, AST is launched into the bloodstream. A high result on an AST test may show an issue with the liver or muscles.

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) Test

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found in your bones, bile ducts, and liver. An ALP test is normally ordered in combination with several other tests. High levels of ALP might suggest liver damage, obstruction of the bile ducts, or a bone disease.

Children and adolescents may have raised levels of ALP due to the fact that their bones are growing. Pregnancy can likewise raise ALP levels.

Albumin Test

Albumin is the main protein made by your liver. It performs many crucial physical functions. For instance, albumin:

  • stops fluid from leaking from your blood vessels
  • nurtures your tissues
  • transports hormones, vitamins, and other compounds throughout your body

An albumin test determines how well your liver is making this certain protein. A low outcome on this test suggests that your liver isn’t really working correctly.

Bilirubin Test

Bilirubin is a waste item normally processed by the liver. The breakdown of red cell develops this waste product. It goes through the liver before being excreted through your stool.

A broken liver cannot effectively process bilirubin. This results in an abnormally high level of bilirubin in the blood. A high result on the bilirubin test suggests that the liver isn’t functioning correctly.

Why Do I Need a Liver Function Test?

Liver tests can assist identify if your liver is working correctly. The liver performs a variety of crucial physical functions, such as:.

  • eliminating pollutants from your blood
  • converting nutrients from the foods you eat
  • storing minerals and vitamins
  • regulating blood clot
  • producing proteins, enzymes, and bile
  • making elements that battle infection
  • eliminating bacteria from your blood
  • processing compounds that could damage your body
  • keeping hormonal agent balances

Issues with the liver can make an individual very sick and can even be deadly.

Symptoms of a liver condition consist of:

  • weak point
  • tiredness or loss of energy
  • weight-loss
  • jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • symptoms of nephritic syndrome (swelling around the eyes, belly, and legs)
  • stained bodily discharge (dark urine or light stools)
  • nausea,¬†vomiting,¬†diarrhea
  • abdominal pain

Your doctor may buy a liver function test if you’re experiencing symptoms of a liver condition or even if you’re planning to become pregnant. The different liver function tests can also check for infection, monitor the development or treatment of a disease, and test for the side effects of specific medications.

How to Prepare for a Liver Function Test

Your doctor will offer you complete directions on how to get ready for the blood sample portion of the test. Specific medications and foods may impact levels of these enzymes and proteins in your blood. Your doctor might ask you to avoid some types of medications, or they might ask you to avoid eating anything for a time period prior to the test.

You may wish to wear a shirt with sleeves that can easily be rolled up making it much easier to collect the blood sample.

How a Liver Function Test Is Performed

You may have your blood drawn in a health center or at a specialized testing center. To administer the test:.

  1. The doctor will clean your skin before the test to avoid any microorganisms on your skin from infecting the test.
  2. They’ll likely cover a cuff or some sort of pressure device on your arm. This will help your veins become more noticeable. They will use a needle to draw a number of samples of blood from your arm.
  3. After the draw, the healthcare provider will position some gauze and a bandage over the leak site. Then they will send out the blood sample to a lab for testing.

The Risks of a Liver Function Test

Blood draws are regular treatments and seldom cause any serious side effects. Nevertheless, the dangers of offering a blood sample include:

  • bleeding under the skin, or hematoma
  • extreme bleeding
  • fainting
  • infection

After a Liver Function Test

After the test, you can usually leave and set about your life as normal. Nevertheless, if you feel faint or lightheaded during the blood draw, you must rest before you leave the screening facility.

When the outcomes are available from the laboratory, your doctor will examine them. The results of these tests might not inform your doctor exactly which condition you have or the degree of any liver damage, but they may assist your doctor determine the next actions. Your doctor will call you with the results or discuss them with you at a follow-up appointment.

Liver function tests: what is normal results?

Typical blood test results for common liver function tests consist of:

  • ALT.¬†7 to 55 units per liter (U/L)
  • AST. 8 to 48 U/L
  • ALP. 45 to 115 U/L
  • Albumin. 3.5 to 5.0 grams per deciliter (g/dL)
  • Total protein. 6.3 to 7.9 g/dL
  • Bilirubin. 0.1 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • GGT. 9 to 48 U/L
  • LD. 122 to 222 U/L
  • PT. 9.5 to 13.8 seconds

These results are typical for adult men. Normal outcomes differ from lab to laboratory and might be slightly different for women and children.

Your doctor will use these results to help detect your condition or figure out treatment you might need. If you currently have liver disease, liver function tests can help determine how your disease is progressing and if you’re responding to treatment.

 

References

Updated: August 16, 2016 — 9:26 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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