Liver function tests are usually used to determine the health of an individual’s liver by measuring the levels of liver enzymes, proteins, and bilirubin in their blood. These tests, also known as liver chemistries, can also be used to monitor the treatment or progression of an existing ailment.
Depending on the test, either lower or higher-than-normal levels of these proteins or enzymes can indicate a problem with an individual’s liver, be it injury or inflammation.
The Best Time to Get a Liver Function Test
It is recommended that you check your liver function if you’re worried about medical conditions that may cause liver dysfunction or if you have abnormal symptoms.
However, you’re advised to take a test of liver function if you’re an alcoholic or have issues with alcohol if you have a family history of liver issues or you’ve had or currently live with gallstones.
You should also consider liver function testing if you’re taking performance-enhancing drugs, have or live with gastrointestinal disease, or suffer from eating disorders.
If you’re currently on or were on medication that may cause damage to your liver, you should get tests for liver function done.
What Tests Are Usually Performed?
The most commonly performed tests for liver function include:
These include the serum albumin test, which measures the albumin levels to diagnose a patient with liver disease. Albumin is a protein in the blood. Low levels of this protein may signify that a patient’s liver isn’t functioning properly.
The serum bilirubin test is another liver function test that is usually performed. This test measures bilirubin levels in the blood. Bilirubin is made by the liver and is usually excreted in the bile. High bilirubin levels may be a sign of a problem in processing bile by the liver or bile flow obstruction.
Your physician may also prescribe a prothrombin time test, which measures the time it takes for a patient’s blood to clot. Prolonged clotting indicates the presence of liver disease or other deficiencies in certain clotting factors.
Liver Enzyme Tests
Physicians may also request an alanine transaminase test. This liver function testing measures levels of an enzyme that is released into an individual’s bloodstream after acute liver cell damage, known as alanine aminotransferase. This test may also be carried out to evaluate liver function and/or to assess the treatment of acute liver ailments like hepatitis.
A serum alkaline phosphatase test is another test your physician may prescribe. This test measures the levels of an enzyme known as a phosphatase in an individual’s blood. This enzyme is found in most tissues in the body, with the highest concentrations in the biliary tract, bones, and liver. The test evaluates liver function and helps find lesions in the liver that may cause biliary obstruction, like abscesses or tumors.
A gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase test may also be performed. These liver function tests are used to measure levels of the gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase enzyme, which is made in the biliary tract, pancreas, and liver. It is used to evaluate liver function, detect alcohol ingestion and offer more information about liver illnesses.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from a defect with your liver, Prestige ER professionals can assess your situation and recommend the most appropriate course of action. Contact us today for a consultation and advice.