The liver is the most crucial organs in the body. It is responsible for various kinds of work in the body, such as food supplement, cleaning the bloo
The liver is the most crucial organs in the body. It is responsible for various kinds of work in the body, such as food supplement, cleaning the blood, storing energy, and making proteins. When something goes wrong with the liver, it can become damaged or diseased, affecting its functions in the body. When the liver is damaged, it can cause symptoms in the body, like slurred speech to yellow skin.
Sometimes, the liver can be subjected to a series of tests to evaluate and check its function. This test is called a liver function test.
What is liver function test?
This test is one kind of bunch of tests which measure the levels of some enzymes and different proteins in the blood. Most of these tests check for enzymes that are only present in the blood when the liver is damaged or diseased, while some others check and ensure that the liver is working perfectly. If you think you may be having issues or problems with your liver, you can call your private GP in London or reach out to us at Private GP London.
Why would anyone need a liver function test?
Liver function tests can be done to check for the presence of diseases in the liver. This happens when you are having symptoms associated with liver problems like hepatitis. Hepatitis is a liver disease that causes the liver to swell and can also lead to more severe issues. The general symptoms of liver problems include the following;
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Swelling in the body, although this is less common
- Dark urine or light coloured poop
- General body weakness or tiredness
In some cases, there would not be any physical symptoms. However, your dentist may recommend a liver function test if you are likely to have liver disease as a result of certain lifestyle habits such as:
- You have an alcohol disorder, or you are a heavy drinker
- You have a close family member who has a liver disease
- You are overweight, and you also have diabetes or high blood pressure
- You are on medication that can harm your liver
- You are anaemic, or you have gall bladder disease.
The doctor will determine if the illness is getting worse from the liver function test or if the treatment is actually working.
Types of liver function test and what they measure
There are different types of liver test, and these tests have complex names. The common tests include the following:
Alanine transaminase (ALT) test: The alt is an enzyme that helps to break down proteins. It is found mainly in the liver, and high levels of it can mean that your liver is damaged.
Alkaline phosphatise (ALP) test: ALP is an enzyme found in the liver, bile ducts and bone. When your liver is damaged, or when you have bone disease or blocked bile duct, the levels of this enzyme increases.
Albumin and total protein test: There are two main proteins produced in the liver, albumin and globulin. When the level of these proteins is low, it means that your liver is either diseased or damaged. Additionally, the immune system produces globulin.
Aspartate transaminase (AST) test: This is different enzyme that is present in the liver. When the blood levels are high, it could also indicate that the liver is either diseased or damaged.
Bilirubin test: When your body breaks down red blood cells, it makes bilirubin. Usually, it is the liver that cleans the bilirubin out of the body. When the bilirubin level is high in the body, it causes a condition known as jaundice, which can lead to liver damage.
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (CGT)) test: When the levels of this enzyme are high in the body, it could indicate liver or bile duct problems.
L-lactate dehydrogenase (ID) test: This is another high enzyme when your liver is diseased or damaged. However, other conditions can cause its level to rise.
Prothrombin time(PT) test: This test measures how long it takes for your blood to clot. If it takes along time, then it could be a sign that your liver is damaged. There are medications that can thin your blood, and one of such is warfarin (coumadin). This medication can also cause an individual to have a prolonged PT. This test comes up after you must have had other liver tests.
Preparing for a liver function test
Before you have a liver function test, be sure to let your doctor know about any medications you are having, whether they are prescribed to you by a specialist, herbal supplements or over-the-counter medications. You may be asked to stop taking them the night before the test.
What happens in the time of liver function test?
During the liver function test, the doctor takes a blood sample using a thin needle. Although the needle may be thin, you may feel a slight pinch or pain when it goes in. Over a few weeks, you may have these tests more than once. To be sure of your condition, your doctor can look at how the levels change.
If your test was carried out at a clinic with a lab site, your results might be ready in a few hours. Otherwise, you may have to wait for a few days.
Liver function test results
For the specific test, the results usually show normal values along with your numbers. You should know that what is considered normal can vary in different labs. The results will also depend on your gender.
If a result is not normal, you would have to carry out more tests. Although a liver test cannot tell if you have a certain illness, you can ask your doctor to explain what the results mean to you.
Liver function test risks
Liver function tests are normally safe and carry minimal risks. However, you may experience soreness or bruise from the point where the blood was taken. If it does not get better after a few days, see your doctor.
Do you need private GP services in London? Then get across to us today at Private GPS London. Give us a call or send us an email for more information.