As the name suggests, liver enzymes are enzymes that are present within the cells of the liver. High liver enzymes in blood is a warning sign of liver damage. In this condition, a liver injury forces the liver to release these enzymes in excess, which eventually enter the bloodstream. As a result, the enzyme levels in the blood increases considerably.
Liver Blood Test
A liver blood test can help to determine whether the blood contains certain liver enzymes in large amounts. When the liver gets damaged due to an underlying liver disease, the concentration of liver enzymes increases in the blood, which can be easily detected by undergoing a liver blood test. This blood test is also useful to evaluate the patient's health in addition to diagnosing any liver disease.
Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the main causes of elevated liver enzymes. Too much alcohol intake can have a negative impact on the liver function. Daily consumption of alcohol is strongly associated with the rise in liver enzymes in the blood. Excess alcohol consumption is said to be toxic to the liver, which induces damage. This happens because most of the alcohol consumed is metabolized by the liver. Therefore, taking excess alcohol overworks the liver and eventually damages it. Alcohol abuse can trigger a wide range of liver problems such as cirrhosis, fatty liver and hepatitis. All these liver diseases contribute to abnormally high liver enzymes. To put it simply, alcohol induced liver damage can increase the presence of liver enzymes in blood.
Tumors of the liver (liver cancer) or other liver diseases can interfere with liver function and eventually cause liver enzymes to leak into the bloodstream.
Obesity raises the possibility of suffering from fatty liver disease. So, besides alcohol, excess fat in the body is considered to be a contributory factor in the development of fatty liver. As the name suggests, this liver condition is typically marked by build up of fat in the liver cells. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and indulgence in junk food leads to obesity, thereby increasing the risk of fatty liver and too much liver enzymes in blood.
A diet lacking in essential nutrients can also be detrimental to liver health and increase the chances of getting diagnosed with elevated liver enzyme. A sluggish liver or the onset of liver diseases has been associated with an unhealthy diet. So, opting for healthy meals can go a long way in improving liver efficiency and prevent disturbances in the concentration of liver enzymes in the blood.
Medicines used for treating various ailments can raise liver enzymes in the blood. For instance, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can contribute to high liver enzymes. Some of these may include:
- Drugs that lower high cholesterol levels, such as niacin.
- Medicines used to control seizures, such as valproic acid, phenytoin, and carbamazepine.
- Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
- Cardiovascular medicines like hydralazine, amiodarone, and quinidine.
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Elevated levels of liver enzymes in the bloodstream can cause headache and severe body aches. People with gallstone disease are likely to have elevated liver enzymes. Gallstones are pieces of hard matter that form in the bile (a digestive fluid released by the gallbladder). Gallbladder is an organ situated in the abdomen, below the liver. Studies have shown that the presence of gallstones in gallbladder is related with increased liver enzymes.
In case intake of alcoholic beverages is responsible for this condition, then abstaining from alcohol consumption would help improve health. If use of prescription drugs is giving rise to excessive production of liver enzymes, then immediately discontinuing the medicines is a must. People suffering from obesity need to avoid fatty foods, and focus more on vegetables and fruits. Daily exercise, such as brisk walk and jogging, can also help to improve blood circulation and reduce weight.
Medical products such as Liv-52 and Milk Thistle are also used to treat elevated liver enzymes. Milk thistle is basically a herb that promotes healthy liver cells. This herb is available in almost all health and drug stores, and one should include it in the diet to restore normal liver function.