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Get to Know How You Can Keep Your Liver Healthy with a Liver Function Test!

Dr Rishika Agarwal 2030 Views
Updated: 18 Jan 2024
Published: 06 Oct 2022
liver healthy with a Liver Function Test

What is a liver function test?

A liver function test is a panel of tests that is performed to check the functioning of the liver. It is a test that measures the levels of enzymes, proteins and other substances created by the organ. The aim of the test is to determine the health of the liver, how well it is functioning, clearing out waste, etc. A liver function test looks at the entire profile of the liver and its overall health.

What are the different types of substances made by the liver?

The liver produces a range of substances that are necessary for healthy bodily functions. These are:

  1. Albumin
  2. ALP also known as Alkaline phosphatase
  3. ALT also known as Alanine transaminase
  4. AST also known as Aspartate aminotransferase
  5. Bilirubin;
  6. Total protein
  7. Lactate dehydrogenase
  8. Prothrombin time

What consists in a liver function test?

The above mentioned enzymes and proteins are extremely important for the smooth functioning of the organ. The liver function test panel checks the levels of these enzymes and proteins. The panel consists of the following tests:

  1. Alanine transaminase: This converts proteins into energy. An increase in this may result in liver damage.
  2. Aspartate transaminase: It helps in metabolising amino acids. An increase in this may result in liver damage.
  3. Alkaline phosphatase: It breaks down proteins. An increase in this may result in a disease such as certain bone diseases.
  4. Albumin and total protein: These help in fighting infections and to perform other functions. Lower levels may indicate anaemia.
  5. Bilirubin: Produced during the breakdown of red blood cells. High levels may lead to jaundice or other diseases.

What is a liver function test used for?

liver function test procedure

The purpose of the liver function test is to figure out the overall health of the liver. The tests can be used to:

  1. Screening for liver diseases
  2. Screening for liver disorders
  3. Monitoring the disease
  4. Monitor the side effects of medication
  5. To determine certain treatments

How is the test done?

The test is done through the process of venipuncture. A needle is inserted into the vein for a blood sample collection.

What are the symptoms of liver disease?

You may need a liver panel test in case you are experiencing these symptoms:

  1. Jaundice
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Light coloured stool
  5. Dark coloured urine
  6. Abdominal pain
  7. Fatigue
  8. Diarrhoea

You may be at a higher risk of developing a liver disease or infection if:

  1. You have a family history of liver infections
  2. You are an alcoholic
  3. Exposed to hepatitis virus

What are the reasons that affect the liver?

Reasons affecting the liver are:

  1. Less consumption of water
  2. Frequent consumption of alcohol
  3. Cigarette smoking
  4. Obesity
  5. Inactivity of the body
  6. Fatty food items
  7. Diet high in sugar

What does the liver function test mean?

Normal ranges are:

  1. Alanine transaminase (ALT): 7 to 55 units per litre
  2. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): 8 to 48 units per litre
  3. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): 40 to 129 units per litre
  4. Albumin: 3.5 to 5.0 grams per decilitre
  5. Total protein: 6.3 to 7.9 grams per decilitre
  6. Bilirubin:  0.1 to 1.2 milligrams per decilitre
  7. GGT:  8 to 61 Units per litre
  8. LD:  122 to 222 Units per litre
  9. PT:  9.4 to 12.5 seconds

If the ranges of the enzymes and proteins produced by your liver are not normal, that is, whether they are high or low, it may mean the liver is not functioning normally. Other conditions may include:

  1. Hepatitis A
  2. Hepatitis B
  3. Hepatitis C
  4. Alcoholism
  5. Liver cancer
  6. Liver infection
  7. Diabetes
  8. Celiac disease

How to prepare for a liver function test?

Before a liver function test, you must contact your healthcare provider for special instructions. You may be asked to avoid certain foods and drinks before the test which could hamper the results.

You can book a liver panel test if you feel under the weather. For more information, you can visit our website, or you can even visit our nearest Pathology laboratory.

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