Elevated Liver Enzymes
The liver is not only the largest organ of the body, but it is also the largest gland in the body. Located in the right upper abdomen, lower the ribcage, the liver is responsible for blood purification. It is a major part of the digestive system and consequently has a crucial role in the overall maintenance of the body. The liver has some interesting abilities that make it stand apart from the functioning of other organs in the body, such as,
- It is the only organ in the body that can regenerate
- Unlike most organs, it has two major sources of blood
- The liver, with the help of vitamin K, helps in blood clotting
Some of the important functions conducted by the liver are,
- Production bile that helps in the breakdown of fats
- Protein synthesis
- Blood purification
- Maintains blood sugar level
- Breakdown of old and damaged blood cells
- Absorption and metabolism of Bilirubin
- Production of albumin
In addition to these functions, the liver carries up to 500 roles in the human body.
The different types of liver enzymes are,
- Aspartate Transaminase (AST)
- Alanine Transaminase (ALT)
- Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
- Gamma-glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT)
What Are Elevated Liver Enzymes?
Elevated liver enzymes indicate inflammation or damage in liver cells. Inflamed or injured liver cells tend to secrete higher than normal amounts of harmful chemicals in the body and in the bloodstream. This can result in elevated liver enzymes showing up during routine blood testing. However, in most blood tests, liver enzymes show a very mild elevated level and don’t signal the possibility of a severe life-threatening liver problem.
What Causes Elevated Liver Enzymes?
Unfortunately, various diseases and medical conditions can cause an elevation of liver enzymes. Your doctor can pinpoint the specific cause of this by reviewing medications or by checking the signs and symptoms visible. In some cases, further tests and procedures may also be conducted to determine the root cause of the abnormal elevation of liver enzymes in your body.
Common causes why Elevated liver enzymes occur in your body are,
- Heart failure
- A frequent dosage of over the counter pain medications
- Hepatitis A, B, and, C
- Certain prescription drugs/medications
- Alcohol consumption
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Celiac disease (a disease in which the small intestine is damaged by gluten)
- Liver cancer
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Thyroid disorders
- Wilson’s disease (excessive copper stored in your body)
If you fail to detect liver enzyme elevations than it might lead to missing the early diagnosis or potential treatment of treatable disorders in our body. Although alterations in the levels of liver enzymes could be a normal physiological phenomenon in certain cases, it may also lead to potential liver injury. Therefore, it is important to interpret early abnormal elevation in the liver enzymes. Over the years, it has become relatively easier to and faster to detect liver enzyme levels with automatic lab testing. This, in turn, has shown that close to 1% -9% of asymptomatic patients have Elevated liver enzyme levels.
Elevation of liver enzyme levels is one of the most commonly found problems. Physical examination and lab tests are extremely important for early diagnosis.