Dr Niranjan Nayak, Consultant Pathologist, Apollo Diagnostic
In the below article we tell you everything you need to know about the liver function test. Read on to know more about this.
Liver function tests (known as a liver panel) are blood tests that help to measure different enzymes, proteins, and other substances that are made by your liver. These tests allow you to monitor the overall health of your liver. The different substances can be tested at the same time on a single blood sample and will include albumin, a protein made in the liver, total protein which measures the total amount of protein in the blood, ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine transaminase), AST (aspartate aminotransferase), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT). Are you aware? These are different enzymes made by the liver. Moreover, bilirubin is a waste product made by the liver. Lactate dehydrogenase (LD) is an enzyme found in most of the body’s cells. It is released into the blood when cells have been damaged by disease or due to an injury. If these things are not in the recommended normal range then one may be detected with liver disease. These tests can also be called liver function panel, liver profile hepatic function panel, and LFT.
Why liver function tests are beneficial?
These tests can help to diagnose hepatitis, and keep an eye on the treatment of liver disease. These tests can help you to understand whether the treatment is working. The tests help to monitor liver damage or cirrhosis. Even the side effects of certain medications can be checked via these tests.
Why will one need a liver function test?
One with symptoms such as jaundice, a condition that causes your skin and eyes to turn yellow, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, light-colored stool, and fatigue will need these tests. You can also opt for these tests when you have a family history of liver disease, alcohol use disorder( wherein you have difficulty controlling how much you drink), fear of exposure to hepatitis virus and are taking medications leading to liver damage.
What will happen during a liver function test?
A blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle will be drawn to know about the liver status.
What do the results mean?
If one or more of your liver function test results are not normal then the liver is damaged or not working properly. Liver damage can be caused by Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and alcohol use disorder, which includes alcoholism, liver cancer, and diabetes.
The last word: One will have to initiate treatment in case of liver damage. Delaying can lead to serious complications or even loss of life.