This article will guide you about high liver enzymes symptoms, causes, and treatment. If you experience high liver enzymes symptoms in your blood test, this may show a health problem like hepatitis or liver disease. The high liver enzymes may also be temporary due to the use of certain medications. Your healthcare provider will understand your test results and guide you in the case of elevated liver enzymes.
Liver enzymes are proteins that help to regulate and speed up different chemical processes in your body. These chemical processes include:
- Development of bile
- Blood clotting
- Breakdown of food
- Decomposition of toxins
- Protection of the body against infection or bacteria
Common Liver Enzymes
The following are the common liver enzymes, such as:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate transaminase (AST)
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
- Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)
When you have liver disease, these enzymes enter your bloodstream (specifically ALT or AST). In this way, you will experience high liver enzymes in your blood.
High Liver Enzymes Symptoms
The symptoms of high liver enzymes do not appear in many persons, but liver failure or damage may also be the reason for elevated liver enzymes. Symptoms of liver damage include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urine appears to be dark
- Releasing light-colored poop or stools
- Eyes or skin color turns yellow, a condition of jaundice
- Pain in the abdomen or stomach
- Loss of appetite
What causes High Liver Enzymes?
FLD (Fatty liver disease) is the leading cause of high liver enzymes and liver inflammation. FLD leads to extra deposition of fats in your liver.
Many other possible causes of high liver enzymes are:
- Thyroid disease
- Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcoholic hepatitis, and autoimmune hepatitis.
- Usage of specific medications that include cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) and acetaminophen.
- Celiac disease
- A metabolic disorder, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
- Liver diseases like Cirrhosis.
- Muscle problems, such as polymyositis.
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis.
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin
- Wilson disease
- Excess use of alcohol
Which factors may increase your risks for high liver enzymes?
Some factors that increase your risks for high liver enzymes, such as:
- Having a family history of liver disease
- Use of specific medicines and vitamin supplements
- High intake of alcohol
Can stress cause elevated liver enzymes?
Stress is one of the factors that lead to high liver enzymes. Stress decreases the rate of blood flow to your liver. High cortisol levels with stress may also cause liver damage.
Some other possible conditions that links with liver disease and stress are listed as follows:
- Stress and ALT levels with the common condition of Hepatitis B may show liver disease
- During Hepatitis C in people, stress may indicate symptoms of fatigue
- Stress and anxiety may decrease the urge and lead to mood swings in people who are going for a liver transplant.
What are the tests for High Liver Enzymes?
Several tests are available to see liver enzyme levels in your blood. You may need a liver function test (LFT) or Liver panel. A liver function is a blood test that may recommend if you are at high risk for developing liver disease. You may also need an LFT test if you feel symptoms of liver damage.
Regular blood tests may help to see higher liver enzyme levels in your blood. ALT and AST tests are the other most common tests linked with liver disease. ALT and AST are liver enzymes that enter your bloodstream when you experience liver inflammation. The ratio of AST to ALT gives information about your liver conditions. ALT levels generally are higher compared to AST levels. AST levels may be higher in these specific cases, such as hepatitis from the use of alcohol and Cirrhosis (a condition of long-term liver disease).
- Method of the test
A liver function test or liver enzymes tests are the blood tests that require your blood sample. Your provider will insert a small needle into the vein in your arm to store a small amount of blood in a container. You may feel some pain during the injection time. Your test results may be received within one or two days, depending on your selection of lab. Visit here to take a liver test at a discounted price.
- Preparation for liver tests
Your provider will ask you about your family history of liver disease, age, and any medicines you use. You can take advice from your provider before the test. If your provider asks for other blood tests, you may need to fast for at least 7-8 hours.
Treatment for high liver enzymes
Recovery from high liver enzymes is generally seen in one-third of people after two to four weeks. Your provider may recommend additional blood tests or medical imaging tests, including ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan. You may also need a specialist, also known as a hepatologist. Your medical treatment may vary on the reasons for high liver enzymes.
How to prevent High Liver Enzymes?
Firstly, you may need to stop taking medications with the consent of your healthcare provider, which may increase your liver enzymes. You can follow the below guidelines or steps to protect your liver from any disease
- Take a healthy and nutritious diet
- Eliminate alcohol or take it in a limited amount as suggested by your provider
- Control your blood sugar if you are experiencing diabetes
- Do some physical exercise daily
- Inform your doctor about medicines, vitamins, and herbs you use.
- Avoid sharing needles or substances that contain blood in a healthcare center
- Take vaccine for hepatitis A and B
- Note down your weight daily
By following the above guidelines, you can decrease liver enzymes levels from your body.
Liver Enzymes Test Cost
Some laboratories may offer liver function tests in the price range starting from $39 to $79. You can take a liver function test here at a low price. These tests include:
- Total Protein
- Total Bilirubin
- Direct Bilirubin
- Alkaline Phosphatase
- Albumin/Globulin Ratio
Your provider may also ask for an individual test to monitor each enzyme and another substance level in your blood.
High liver enzymes may develop due to liver disease and medication. You may need to talk with your provider if you see the above symptoms of high liver enzymes. You should follow the treatment as recommended to you.