Liver Function Test
In the human body, the liver is responsible for the regulation of the chemicals in the blood and excretes bile. Bile helps with the digestion process by breaking down fats into fatty acids.
A Liver Function Test is used to determine how the liver is functioning in the human body and it is done by taking a blood sample. The liver produces protein and clears bilirubin, a by-product of the blood. The LFT test also measures the enzymes that the liver cells release whenever there is any damage. There are various reasons why the LFT test is done. A Liver Function Test is used to screen for diseases like hepatitis. More details about why the LFT test is done are discussed later in the blog.
There are various diseases related to the liver. Some of the common diseases are Hepatitis (A, B, C, D, E), Fatty liver disease, and Liver diseases caused due to intake of drugs.
There are various symptoms related to liver diseases that one might notice that act as indicators to get a Liver Function Test done. Some of the common symptoms noticed in individuals are listed below:
- Fatigue over long periods
- Loss of appetite
- Dark-colored urine
- Skin getting itchy
- Pain in the abdomen
When a person notices any of the above symptoms, it is recommended that they visit a Hepatologist. The doctor will mostly recommend a Liver Function Test.
Liver diseases can happen to individuals who:
- Have exposure to a lot of toxins
- Make use of harmful supplements as a part of their diet
- Consume excess amounts of alcohol
- Have other medical diseases like diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol
- Have a history of liver diseases
4 reasons why you need to get a Liver Function Test done:
An LFT test is done to:
Check for Diseases Related to Liver
Liver infections like Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are contracted when you get exposed to a virus. An LFT test is a great measure to take to check for any liver-related diseases.
Monitor for any side effects upon following a medication
Medications which include the consumption of statins, steroids, tuberculosis drugs, and certain antibiotics can lead to side effects like diarrhea, and blood in the stool. These side effects are indicators to look for. Every disease always starts out small. It is essential to keep a track of any side effects.
Diagnose the Symptoms stated above Related to Liver Diseases
Mainly Check the Damage caused due to the Excess Consumption of Alcohol
Excess alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, and certain heart conditions and this habit is seen in addicts. It is very important to keep control of the intake of alcohol. Excess consumption has adverse effects and does major damage to the liver. This is where a Liver Function Test can help.
There are 5 types of Liver Function Test(s):
Alanine Transaminase (ALT) test
The human body uses ALT for converting the proteins into energy which is used by the cells in the liver. ALT can be released into the body whenever the liver is damaged and if the LFT test returns a high value for this parameter, it is indicative of liver damage.
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) Test
AST is an enzyme commonly found in several parts of the body like the heart, brain, liver, and pancreas. If the liver is damaged, then the ALT is released into the bloodstream which can indicate a problem in the muscles or the liver if the test result indicates that the levels are high.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) Test
ALP is a type of an enzyme responsible for breaking down the proteins in the body and it is typically found within the liver, bones, and bile ducts. As bile is the by-product of the liver, an ALP test can determine whether the bile duct system is functioning properly or not.
Albumin is the main protein made in the liver and this provides the immunity to fight infections and also to perform other bodily functions.
The breakdown of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) leads to the production of Bilirubin. It is processed in the liver and is excreted out of the body through the stool. A damaged liver is incapable of processing bilirubin.
If any individual notices any of the symptoms mentioned in the article or has detected a damaged liver, they must visit a Hepatologist. The doctor will recommend a Liver Function Test. There are no special requirements to get the test done, the doctor might ask you to fast for about 10 to 12 hours by following a liquid diet.