Elevated Liver Enzymes: Causes and Symptoms
Elevated liver enzymes may indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Inflamed or injured liver cells leak greater than typical amounts of particular chemicals, including liver enzymes, into the blood stream, which can lead to elevated liver enzymes on blood tests.
The particular elevated liver enzymes most commonly found are:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate transaminase (AST)
Elevated liver enzymes may be discovered during routine blood screening. For the most parts, liver enzyme levels are only mildly and temporarily elevated. The majority of the time, elevated liver enzymes don’t signify a chronic, serious liver issue.
Causes of Elevated Liver Enzymes
Many illness and conditions can add to elevated liver enzymes. Your doctor identifies the specific cause of your elevated liver enzymes by examining your medications, your symptoms and signs and, in some cases, other tests and procedures.
More common causes of elevated liver enzymes include:
- Specific prescription medications, consisting of statin drugs used to manage cholesterol.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Heart failure.
- Hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Weight problems.
- Over-the-counter pain medications, especially acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
Other causes of elevated liver enzymes may include:
- Alcoholic liver disease (severe liver inflammation caused by excessive alcohol intake).
- Autoimmune hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by an autoimmune disorder).
- Celiac disease (small intestine damage caused by gluten).
- Cirrhosis (early stages of liver scarring).
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection.
- Dermatomyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness and skin rash).
- Epstein-Barr infection.
- Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis).
- Heart attack.
- Hemochromatosis (too much iron kept in your body).
- Liver cancer.
- Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation).
- Polymyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness).
- Toxic hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by drugs or toxins).
- Wilson’s disease (excessive copper stored in your body).
Causes shown here are typically related to this symptom. Work with your doctor or other healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Signs & Symptoms
A medical practitioner observes signs of a disease procedure. Signs that accompany elevated liver enzymes depend on the disease, however can include jaundice, a yellowish tint to the skin and whites of the eyes, dark colored urine, clay-colored stools, fluid build-up in the abdomen called ascites, intestinal tract bleeding, low-grade fever or weight loss. The liver and spleen might feel bigger than regular.
People with elevated liver enzymes may not have any symptoms when it comes to NASH, early alcoholic liver disease or chronic liver disease B or C. If acute liver disease causes elevated liver enzymes, symptoms may include fatigue, queasiness, vomiting, upper right quadrant abdominal pain and inflammation, loss of libido, mental changes or itching.
Last modified: September 29, 2016