Tuli Health - Liver Function Test
Liver Function Test
What Are Liver Function Tests?
Liver function tests (also known as a liver profile) are blood tests that measure different enzymes, proteins, and other substances made by the liver. These tests check the overall health of the liver. The different substances are often tested at the same time on a single blood sample, and may include the following:
- Alanine Transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)- not suitable for home finger-prick test, due to
- Haemolysis and delay in transportation
- Total Protein
- Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
- Gamma-GT (GGT)
- Alanine transaminase (ALT). ALT is an enzyme found in the liver that helps convert proteins into energy for the liver cells. When the liver is damaged, ALT is released into the bloodstream and levels increase.
- Aspartate transaminase (AST). AST is an enzyme that helps metabolise amino acids. Like ALT, AST is normally present in blood at low levels. An increase in AST levels may indicate liver damage, disease or muscle damage.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP). ALP is an enzyme found in the liver and bone and is important for breaking down proteins. Higher-than-normal levels of ALP may indicate liver damage or disease, such as a blocked bile duct, or certain bone diseases.
- Albumin and Total Protein. Albumin is one of several proteins made in the liver. The body needs these proteins to fight infections and to perform other functions. Lower-than-normal levels of albumin and total protein may indicate liver damage or disease.
- Bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin passes through the liver and is excreted in stool. Elevated levels of bilirubin (jaundice) might indicate liver damage or disease or certain types of anaemia.
- Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT). GGT is an enzyme in the blood. Higher-than-normal levels may indicate liver or bile duct damage. Monitoring of alcohol abuse
- Globulin: They make up nearly half of the total protein in the blood. Globulins have a critical role in normal liver function, fighting infection and blood clotting. They are created by the immune system and the liver. The amount of globulins in the blood helps indicate many conditions such as liver damage, kidney diseases, autoimmune conditions or nutritional problems.
If levels of one or more of these substances are outside of the normal range, it may be a sign of liver disease or in some situations, reversible temporary liver disturbances.
What Are They Used For?
Liver function tests are most often used to:
- Help diagnose liver diseases, such as hepatitis
- Monitor treatment of liver disease, such as viral or alcoholic hepatitis, and determine how well a treatment is working
- Check how badly a liver has been damaged or scarred by disease, such as cirrhosis
- Monitor possible side effects of certain medications
Why Do I Need a Liver Function Test?
You may need a liver function test if you have symptoms of liver disease. These include:
- Jaundice, a condition that causes your skin and eyes to turn yellow
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored stool
You may also need these tests if you have certain risk factors. You may be at higher risk for liver disease if you:
- Have a family history of liver disease
- Think you have been exposed to a hepatitis virus
- Take medicines that may cause toxic liver damage, which includes too much paracetamol, ibuprofen & aspirin
- Are anorexic or bulimic or suffer from another eating disorder
- Drink alcohol regularly or are a binge drinker;
- Have had gallstones
- Have had gastrointestinal disease (e.g. Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Take performance enhancing drugs, including steroids and creatine
What Abnormal Results Mean
For example, an increased ALT level is often a sign of liver disease. Liver disease is even more likely when the levels of the other biomarkers included in the liver profile have also increased.
An increased ALT level may be due to any of the following:
- Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
- Swollen and inflamed liver (hepatitis)
- Too much iron in the body (haemochromatosis)
- Too much fat in the liver (fatty liver)
- Lack of blood flow to the liver (liver ischaemia)
- Liver tumour or cancer
- Use of drugs that are toxic to the liver
- Mononucleosis ("mono")
- Swollen and inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis)
How Do I Order My Liver Function Test?
Liver Function blood test requires a small blood sample(finger-prick) and makes checking your thyroid levels privately, fast, affordable, and convenient. All you need to do is collect your sample and send it directly to Tuli accredited lab for analysis. Accurate results will be available within 2 working days of receipt of your sample in the laboratory.
Will I Need to Do Anything to Prepare for The Test?
You may need to fast (not eat or drink) for 10-12 hours before the test. Certain medications can affect the enzyme levels such as:
- Drugs that can increase GGT level include:
- Drugs that can decrease GGT level include:
- Birth control pills