1. What is a liver function test?
Tests for liver function are blood tests used to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage. The tests measure the amount of certain enzymes and proteins in your blood. These tests check the overall health of your liver. The various substances are often tested at the same time on one blood sample.
2. Why do you need to check the function of your liver ?
A liver function test is commonly recommended within the following situations
- To check for damage from liver infections, like viral hepatitis and hepatitis B & C
- To monitor the side effects of certain medications known to affect the liver
- if you once had a liver disease, to check the progress of the disease and the way a specific treatment is working
- If you develop jaundice (yellowness of eyes & urine)
- If you have certain medical conditions like high triglycerides, diabetes, high blood pressure or anemia
- If you drink alcohol lots
- If you have gallbladder disease
3. What are the recommended tests for liver function ?
Generally used tests are as following:
- Total protein & Albumin – Albumin is a protein which is made within the liver. If the liver is diseased then the production of albumin is low & its blood level falls.
- ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine transaminase), AST (aspartate aminotransferase), and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT). These are different enzymes made by the liver. They can be elevated in viral & bacterial infections of the liver as well as due to alcohol & drug induced liver damage.
- Bilirubin – Blood level of bilirubin increases during the liver disease, that leads to jaundice.
- Prothrombin time – It is the measure of coagulation capability of blood which mainly relies on liver function. In liver disease the prothrombin time is increased, so any type of injury can lead to higher blood loss from the wound.Dr Harsh Shah
Liver, Pancreas & Cancer specialist in Ahmedabad, India