The liver is a significant organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen that is required for various tasks. It processes medications and alcohol, filters hazardous compounds, stores minerals, and vitamins, and produces bile, proteins, and enzymes, among other things.
Liver function tests (commonly known as LFTs) are blood tests that can tell you how well your liver is operating. They measure the levels of various proteins and enzymes made by liver cells or released into the bloodstream when liver cells are destroyed, revealing how effectively the liver is functioning. They can detect liver cell damage or an obstruction in blood flow via the liver.
Uses of Liver Function Tests
Doctors utilize liver function tests to assess an individual’s liver health. If a doctor suspects a patient has liver illness or injury, they may order one or even more liver function tests to determine the underlying reason. The following are some of the signs of liver disease:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Inadvertent weight reduction
- Abdominal pain in the upper right quadrant
- Foot, ankle or calve swelling
- Urine appears dark.
Doctors may suggest one or more liver function tests for patients who:
- Have been exposed to or have a background of hepatitis A, B, or C infections
- Are presently getting treatment for liver problems
- Are currently taking liver-damaging medicines
- Exhibit indications of liver damage
- Have a drinking problem
- Have a history of liver illness in their family
- Are overweight or obese
Substances Tested In a Liver Function Test
A liver function test (LFT) is a series of tests used to determine the blood’s levels of proteins, enzymes, and bilirubin. These tests aid in diagnosing liver infection, illness, or injury. Elevated or decreased levels of any or all of certain chemicals can indicate a liver issue. The compounds tested are as follows:
Gamma Glutamyltransferase (GGT): An enzyme present in the bloodstream.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): An enzyme found in bone and the liver.
Aspartate Transaminase (AST): An enzyme found in the liver and muscles.
Alanine transaminase (ALT): Which is present in the liver.
Lactate dehydrogenase: An enzyme produced by the liver found in almost all human body cells.
Albumin & total protein: Albumin is a protein that the body needs to combat infections and conduct many biological activities. A total protein test determines the total quantity of albumin and other proteins in the blood.
Bilirubin: A chemical produced by breaking down erythrocytes (red blood cells).
Prothrombin Time (PT): The Prothrombin time test determines how long it takes for blood to clot.
Treatment Options If You Are Diagnosed With Liver Problems
The specific treatment an individual receives will rely on the underlying reason.
- People who suffer liver problems due to alcohol use may require medical assistance to stop drinking.
- People with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease may be advised by their doctor to make dietary and lifestyle adjustments.
- Doctors can give drugs to treat viral hepatitis illnesses, autoimmune hepatitis, and bile duct problems.
- Severe liver damage can lead to consequences like portal hypertension, which may necessitate surgery or a liver transplant.
Liver function tests can be pretty beneficial from a lot of perspectives. A liver function test may also be performed as part of a standard annual checkup to cast more insight into an acute illness or to aid in diagnosing liver disease.