The liver plays a vital role in digestion and flushing out toxins from your body. But, what if your liver gets damaged and how would you know that? If so, you would face symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, itchy skin, nausea and vomiting, dark urine etc. Based on these symptoms, your doctor will recommend you to undergo a liver function test to understand how well your liver is functioning. So, how important is it to get a liver function test and what the test results interpret about your overall health are questions that this article will address.
What is Liver Function Test?
A liver function test is recommended by a medical practitioner when he/she suspects that your liver may not be functioning normally. This test measures the levels of proteins, bilirubin and liver enzymes in your blood. This will also help the doctor understand how well your liver is functioning. In simple terms, a liver function is done to know if your liver has been damaged or not.
Purpose of Getting a Liver Function Test Done
The liver is responsible for multiple functions and if your doctor suspects that your overall health is not functioning normally, then he/she would recommend getting this test done. The main purpose of getting a liver test done is based on the following parameters.
- To check if the liver has been damaged due to infections such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
- If any medications have been the cause of liver damage.
- To monitor if any treatment is affecting its functioning.
- If you are suffering from diabetes, blood pressure, anaemia or high triglycerides.
- If your doctor suspects that you may have liver disease.
- If you are a heavy alcoholic.
- If you are suffering from existing gallbladder disease.
What are the Different Liver Function Tests?
There are five tests that are done to determine how your liver is functioning. Also, these tests will help your doctor make the right decision for treating your damaged liver. Here are some of the different tests done under liver function to check for liver abnormalities.
- Alanine Transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
- Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
What A Liver Function Test Result Could Mean?
A doctor may recommend that you undergo a liver function test if you are suffering from symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, swelling in the legs, itchy skin, severe nausea, loss of appetite etc. However, the 5 tests to understand the functioning of your liver would be interpreted as the following.
|Sl No.||Type of Liver Function Tests||Description|
|1.||Alanine Transaminase (ALT)||ALT is an enzyme in your body that is used to metabolise protein. In simple terms, if your liver is damaged, then this enzyme would mix with your blood and increases its levels. If your ALT levels are higher in your blood, it can be a sign of liver damage.|
|2.||Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)||AST is an enzyme that your liver produces and if there are higher levels in your blood, then it could signify liver damage. It could also mean that other organs such as kidneys and heart have been affected.|
|3.||Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)||ALP is also an enzyme that is produced by the liver. So, an ALP test is done to know if your liver is damaged or there are signs of bone diseases.|
|4.||Albumin||Albumin is the main protein that your liver produces and this stops fluids from leaking out of your blood vessels, transports vitamins and hormones. A doctor may suggest an Albumin test in order to understand how well is the liver producing this protein. Low levels of albumin indicate that you may be suffering from a liver problem.|
|5.||Bilirubin||Bilirubin is produced when your red blood cells breakdown. It is brown and yellow in colour and it is said to make your stools look brown. This test is done to know if you may be suffering from hepatitis or check if your liver has enlarged.|
Note: If you are facing any of the above-listed symptoms, then you need to make it a point to consult a doctor at the earliest. Also, if you have severe abdominal pain, then visit a nearby hospital or clinic and get yourself checked as it could signify something dangerous.
Want A Liver Function Test Done?
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