Elevated Liver Function Tests

Elevated Liver Function Tests

By helping diagnose various liver problems, elevated liver function tests ensure that the individual is subjected to proper treatment at the earliest.
HealthHearty Staff
As the name suggests, elevated liver function tests are series of lab tests executed to determine the condition of the liver. If liver problems are diagnosed in their preliminary stages, their treatment becomes easier, as the damage induced to it is very less. With time, the condition gets worse and at times, it even leads to severe complications, such as liver cancer or liver failure, which are difficult to treat.

Some tests are recommended in order to diagnose the underlying ailment in its preliminary stages. These tests help in determining the amount of damage induced to the liver and the underlying condition which caused this damage. The liver is designated to perform certain functions in our body, one of them being the production of enzymes necessary for various body functions.

Elevated levels of these enzymes in the blood is a sign of some malfunctioning in the body. This elevation may be caused due to a range of abnormalities; the prominent ones being hemochromatosis, liver cancer, and alcohol consumption in excess. Generally, the levels of these enzymes are measured in the bloodstream by subjecting the individual to elevated or raised liver function tests.

Despite their name, most of these tests have nothing to do with the functioning of liver. It's the pattern of elevation which determines the underlying cause of liver malfunctioning. These tests help in early diagnosis and treatment of the ailment, thus increasing the chances of survival for the person.

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartarte aminotransferase (AST)

ALT or AST are vital enzymes or transaminases produced in the liver. These enzymes are required to metabolize amino acids to produce proteins. When liver cells start dying or when any sort of damage is caused to them, these enzymes leak into the bloodstream. ALT (alanine aminotransferase) is only found in the liver of the person and therefore, its presence in the bloodstream is considered a sign of some damage induced to the liver. Although, AST (aspartarte aminotransferase) is found in other organs besides the liver, elevated AST levels in the bloodstream can also mean something is wrong with the liver or some other part of the body. Normal range for AST levels in the blood are 5 IU/L to 43 IU/L, anything above this is considered problematic. Transaminases levels in the body can be elevated due to a range of abnormalities, including viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, side effects of certain medication, fatty liver, or even heart failure at times.

Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and Gamma-glutamyl transferase (Gamma GT)

ALP and Gamma GT are cholestatic liver enzymes measured during various elevated liver function tests. ALP (alkaline phosphatase) metabolizes phosphorous to bring energy to the body while Gamma GT (gamma-glutamyl transferase) provides oxygen to the tissues. Bile, a green fluid produced in the cells of the liver, plays an important role in breaking down the fat, processing cholesterol, and getting rid of toxins from the body. Bile ducts facilitate the transportation of bile from liver to gallbladder and intestines. If any damage is caused to this bile duct, it spills ALP and Gamma GT enzymes into the bloodstream, thus causing their levels in the blood to rise. The normal range of ALP is in between 30 IU/L to 115 IU/L. In the case of Gamma GT, the normal range is between 5 IU/L to 80 IU/L. ALP levels elevation can be caused owing to a series of health conditions, such as fatty liver, gallstones, primary biliary cirrhosis, etc.

Liver is undoubtedly one of the most vital organs of the human body and hence, one has to take precautionary measures, like following a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, to ensure that it functions properly throughout your life.