What are liver function tests?


The liver is a vital organ of the human body and is responsible for many functions, including digesting food and eliminating toxins from the body. A liver function test is a blood test often used to check for liver damage, diagnose liver diseases, and evaluate the overall health of the liver. Liver function tests monitor the levels of certain enzymes and proteins in the blood as higher or lower than normal levels could potentially be a sign of liver damage or disease.

Common liver function tests include:

  • Aspartate transaminase (AST): an enzyme that helps metabolize amino acids and is often present in the blood at low levels. An increase in AST levels in the blood may be a sign of muscle damage or liver disease.
  • Albumin and total protein: one of several proteins produced by the liver that helps the body fight infections and perform other important functions. Low levels of albumin and total protein may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): an enzyme that helps break down protein and is commonly found in the liver and bones. Higher ALP levels may be a sign of liver damage or other diseases such as blocked bile duct and certain bone diseases.
  • Bilirubin:a substance produced during the regular breakdown of red blood cells that passes through the liver and is excreted in the stool. Elevated levels of bilirubin may indicate liver damage or disease or certain types of anemia.
  • Alanine transaminase (ALT):an enzyme found in the liver that helps convert protein into energy for the liver cells. In the case of a damaged liver, ALT is released into the bloodstream resulting in higher ALT levels in the blood.

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