Everything you need to know about a Liver Function Test

Liver function test is used to determine the cause a liver problem like jaundice. The clinical tests are also used to identify liver damage, helps to screen people exposed to a hepatitis virus, and to monitor changes in decreased liver function.

About Liver

The liver is a huge glandular organ, which is reddish brown and weighs about 1.36 kg. The two largest vessels namely hepatic artery and portal veins carry blood to the liver. The artery carries oxygen-rich blood from the biggest blood vessel in the heart called the aorta while the vein carries blood that comprises of digested food from the small intestine. The liver can regenerate itself and performs various functions in your body like processing nutrients so that they can be utilized to produce essential proteins and fats in the process of metabolism. It works to filter the blood and remove toxins and unhealthy cells from the blood. It converts the waste product of the body into urea that is excreted in the urine. The liver performs various other functions that are extremely important for healthy body function.

Liver Function Tests

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)- an enzyme present in the liver and is the best test for diagnosing hepatitis.  The high level of the enzyme could indicate you have liver damage.
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)- An enzyme found in the liver and few other parts such as the heart and the muscles in the body. High level of AST enzyme could be a sign of liver disease.
  • Total bilirubin test- It is used to measure all the yellow bilirubin pigment in the blood. Due to excess bilirubin or inflammation of the liver, the liver can’t process the bilirubin in the body. Too much bilirubin can cause yellowing of skin and eyes. This condition can often call as jaundice. The bilirubin test will help a physician to detect if you have any of these conditions.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test- Alp is an enzyme found in the liver, bone, and bile ducts. There are chances of high levels of this enzyme if you have a liver disease, bone disorder, or a blocked bile duct.
  • L-Lactose dehydrogenase (LD) test- An elevated level of LD enzyme can indicate liver damage. High levels of LD enzyme can also cause other conditions as well. Consult your physician for more information.
  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) test- You might have liver damage or bile duct damage if you have high levels of GGT enzyme.
  • Prothrombin time (PT) test- A test which measures how long it takes your blood to clot. In case it takes a long time, which it could be an indication of liver damage. Pharmaceutical drugs such as warfarin (blood thinner) can also lead to a longer PT.

Important Liver Care Tips

Follow these liver health tips help ensure that your liver is functioning properly.

  • Choose a variety of food groups containing low-fat food. Reduce the amount of fatty, high sugar, or fried foods you eat.
  • Divide your meals into small portions and have it regularly. Do not skip your meals or overeat.
  • Eat at least two servings of the meat and alternative food groups such as peanut butter, peas, fish, dried beans, lentils, etc.
  • Consume at least eight glasses of water daily. Water is a great choice because it helps flush waste products out of the liver. If possible, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into it; it will add to the benefits of water.
  • Try to choose organic food for good liver care. The fewer chemicals, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics, the less your organ has to filter.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol or if you choose to drink, then drink in moderation, do not have more than one or two drinks per occasion. Never drink regularly.
  • Fruits and vegetables are considered as liver health foods. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and always wash them right before use to remove pesticides.
  • With the help of a physician, one can also choose a liver health supplement that best suits his/her condition.

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