One of the most vital organs in a person’s body is the liver. The liver is in charge of detoxifying the body and processing nutrition. As a result, maintaining a functioning liver is crucial to ensuring overall well-being. Liver function testing is one method of monitoring the liver’s condition. This article explains the benefits of liver function testing for general health and what you should know about them.
What Is A Liver Function Test?
A series of blood tests known as liver function tests are used to evaluate the condition of your liver. They gauge the quantities of proteins, bilirubin, and liver enzymes in your blood. Although the liver aids in numerous vital bodily processes, proper liver function is crucial for various reasons. This involves creating bile to aid in the metabolization of food, filtering dangerous compounds from blood entering the digestive system, and storing minerals and vitamins.
What Are The Common Types Of Liver Function Tests?
The common liver function tests include:
Alanine Transaminase (ALT) Test
Your body uses an enzyme called alanine transaminase (ALT) to metabolize protein. ALT can be released into the circulatory system if the liver is harmed or not working correctly. Levels of ALT rise as a result. A more excellent score than expected on this test may indicate liver damage. Ten percent or so of Americans are thought to have ALT levels that are too high.
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) Test
The heart, brain, pancreas, liver, muscles, and other organs contain an enzyme called aspartate aminotransferase (AST). AST can get into the blood circulation when the liver gets injured. An elevated AST test finding might point to a liver or muscle tissue. Although AST levels are less accurate as a predictor of liver damage than ALT, they are frequently evaluated in conjunction with ALT to screen for liver issues. For instance, an elevated AST: ALT ratio can indicate alcoholic liver damage.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) Test
Your bones, bile ducts, and liver contain the enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Usually, an ALP test is requested, along with several additional assays.
Albumin is a protein that carries out a variety of vital body processes. For example, albumin transports nutrition, hormones, and other molecules throughout your body while feeding your tissues. An albumin test assesses your liver’s effectiveness in manufacturing this protein.
Bilirubin is a waste product of red blood cell lysis. Normally, it is processed by the liver. It passes through the liver first before being removed by your stools. A sick liver cannot properly process bilirubin. The quantity of bilirubin in the blood, therefore, increases extraordinarily high. Some genetic diseases can elevate bilirubin levels even if liver function is normal.
Other Diagnostic Tests
To rule out hepatitis and other illnesses or other conditions that can harm the liver, your doctor could decide to run tests on you. In addition, they could decide to have imaging examinations such as an ultrasound or CT scan. They could also advise a liver biopsy to check for fibrosis, fatty liver disease, and other liver diseases.
In conclusion, among the first signs of liver disease is when liver function testing gives abnormal findings. However, using specific medications, viral diseases, lifestyle choices, and other medical problems might also result in aberrant results. Doctors can utilize these tests to determine their next steps, even if they frequently fail to pinpoint the underlying problem.