Are Your Liver Enzymes High?
There are numerous tests that would indicate if the person is suffering from liver damage. One of the most common indicators if there is damage in the organ is to ask the question: “Are your liver enzymes high?“
Liver Enzyme Functions
Enzymes are proteins produced by organs to help the body initiate chemical reaction needed for its development and normal processes. The liver enzyme is a protein or enzyme, which is naturally occurring in the liver. These enzymes help maintain different metabolic processes needed by the body as well as trigger various biochemical reactions within the body.
Liver enzymes are produced within normal levels but there are times when these become elevated for certain reasons such as excessive alcohol intake, diabetes, too much intake of fatty foods and so on.
Commonly, routine checkups eg.routine blood testing, is where changes are discovered. Normally elevations of liver enzyme levels would signify that there is something wrong in the liver. Due to numerous cases where elevated enzymes are associated directly to liver damage, physicians always advice patients with such results to take additional exams to confirm if there is indeed damage in the liver.
Liver Enzyme Tests
There is a way to detect inflammation or damage in the liver. The procedure, known as liver enzyme function or LFT, involves different types of blood tests, which help determine whether the liver is still functioning normally and if the liver cells are still healthy. Patients who would undergo such test would be required to be tested for ALT, AST, and alkaline phosphatase. Below is the explanation of each level enzyme and its individual signs and symptoms.
Liver Enzyme High Levels
ALT (normal level: 7 to 55 units per liter)
The enzyme known as ALT or alanine transaminase helps metabolize protein. When there is a disorder in the liver, ALT is released in the bloodstream causing the ALT levels in the blood to be elevated. If this particular enzyme number is high, this would become a major concern because the increased level may indicate liver casino damage like hepatoma, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, and heart problem such as mycordial infarction and more.
ALP (normal level: 45 to 115 units per liter)
This particular enzyme is needed by the body to trigger biochemical reactions but in small amounts only, which is why an elevated ALP or alkaline phosphatase would indicate presence of gallstones, biliary tumors, infections, and liver damage.
AST (normal level: 8 to 48 units per liter)
An enzyme that plays a major role in the breaking down of the amino acid alanine, when elevated would indicate hepatoma, active cirrhosis, hepatitis infection, and metastatic liver tumor.
High levels of liver enzyme would mean that normal functioning of the liver is disturbed. High outcomes don’t necessarily confirm liver damage but the possibility is very likely which is why you need to have your liver examined according to your doctor’s order.
Liver Enzymes Signs and Symptoms
A person with high levels of liver enzymes will show signs and symptoms. One of the classical signs of an elevated liver enzyme is jaundice. This is characterized by a yellowish hue that is noticeable on the skin and the whites of the person’s eyes. On the other hand, a person who has jaundice will exhibit a dark colored urine as well as a grayish color stools. Intestinal bleeding, enlargement of the abdomen due to accumulation of fluids (ascites), and weight loss are also classical signs of jaundice.
Management of High Levels of Liver Enzymes
As stated earlier, tests are performed to determine whether there is an injury in the liver. There are numerous causes why elevations in the liver enzyme occur. Some of these causes are due to poor lifestyle such as severe alcohol intake and taking strong medications. If these were the reasons of the elevations, the physician would recommend reducing or stopping intake of these elements. Severe alcohol intake is always associated with liver damage and such injury can be detected through these tests. If elevation occurs due to poor habits, then it should be reversed to prevent the disorder from exacerbating.
Meanwhile, there are disorders in the liver, which is due to mutations of liver cells. Hepatoma or cancer in the liver would be seen in liver function tests. If such disorder occurs, it should be managed surgically or through intake of proper medication to prevent aggravating the disease.
Other causes of liver damage include poor diet. Apart from alcohol, fatty foods are associated with liver damage known as fatty liver. This is due to excessive intake of foods rich in fatty acids. On the other hand, diabetic patients are now examined for liver damage because in the recent years, this particular illness was also linked to liver disorders. Individuals whose intake involves sugary foods, high in protein and less organic foods are candidates for liver damage. This is the reason why high levels of liver enzymes are detected during their routine checkups. As such they are always advised to reverse poor eating habits so the injury in the liver won’t progress into something dreadful like live cancer.
So, Are Your Enzymes High?
All in all, elevated liver enzymes don’t necessarily signal liver damage right away. Some of these elevations are minimal or too moderate to be considered as serious liver damage. Fortunately, these elevations can be reversed through adapting a healthy lifestyle. But you won”t know if you do not have your liver enzyme levels checked. Make sure you ask about your liver enzyme levels the next time you see your physician or have a blood test.
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