Elevated Liver Enzymes
Elevated liver enzymes refer to an increase in the number of liver enzymes in circulation. Increased liver enzyme levels may indicate a more severe underlying medical problem, such as hepatitis or liver disease, or they may be a warning indication of something more serious. Increased liver enzymes may sometimes be a side effect of a specific drug.
Enzymes produced by the liver are proteins that aid in the speeding up of chemical reactions in the body. ALT and AST are the two important liver enzymes. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you undergo a liver panel in order to evaluate your liver enzyme levels. LFT or liver panel measures the liver’s function. If you are at risk of liver injury or disease, or if you are showing signs of liver impairment, your doctor may recommend that you have a liver function test during a routine visit to the doctor’s office.
The majority of individuals with high liver enzymes have no symptoms or indications of disease. Elevated liver enzymes may be accompanied by the following symptoms.
- Discomfort in the abdomen (stomach)
- Dark-colored urine
- Appetite loss
- Nausea and vomiting
Numerous illnesses and conditions may result in inflammatory alterations in the liver leading to an altered state of the enzymes. Dehydration also causes elevated liver enzymes. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the medicines you are already taking, your doctor may suggest further tests or procedures to ascertain the source of the problem.
Elevated liver enzyme treatment is dependent on the etiology of your high liver enzymes. If your doctor suspects you have “nonalcoholic fatty liver disease” or metabolic syndrome, you will need to monitor your diet closely, avoid alcohol, reduce weight, and maintain a healthy cholesterol level over a prolonged period.
A physician will review the results of a patient’s blood tests that reveal elevated liver enzymes in order to determine the source of the patient’s elevated enzymes. They may do further tests on a person in addition to asking about their lifestyle and dietary habits.
Fatty liver disease: Increased liver enzyme levels are most often linked with fatty liver disease. The condition develops when fats build in the liver and cause it to malfunction. The buildup has been brought on by excessive alcohol use. Fat accumulates in the liver and causes inflammation. It is more common in those who have metabolic syndrome than in the general population.
Cirrhosis: Another cause of elevated levels of liver enzymes is cirrhosis. This is the scarring of the liver. It impairs the organ’s ability to function normally. Cirrhosis is a liver disease that, if left untreated, may result in liver failure.
Metabolic syndrome: Elevated level of the enzymes is linked with the metabolic syndrome. It is characterized by excessively high blood glucose levels, hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol levels. Making healthy dietary changes can help in managing slightly elevated liver enzymes.
Stress causes elevated liver enzymes. The number of natural killer cells present in the liver increases during times of stress, which has been linked to the death of liver cells and the aggravation of pre-existing liver disease in certain instances. Stress lowers blood flow in the part of the brain that regulates the liver, raising the potential that it may either contribute to or cause liver disease.
Another condition, which is linked with elevated liver enzymes, is vertigo. It has been identified that problems with liver metabolism are linked with energy imbalance. It is the main factor connected with vertigo.
Some other reasons for elevated liver enzymes include the following:
- Alcoholism or excessive use of alcoholic drinks
- Medicines and nutritional supplements
- Family history of liver disease
Elevated liver enzymes (AST and ALT), often known as transaminases, are indicators of liver inflammation or injury. In many cases, elevated liver enzyme symptoms are modest or absent. They may, however, include weariness, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), stomach pain, black urine, and unexplained weight loss. Elevated liver enzymes are frequently identified through regular blood testing or when looking into other health issues.
A complete evaluation by a healthcare provider is usually required for elevated liver enzymes diagnosis. A medical history, physical examination, and laboratory testing, such as blood tests to detect liver enzyme levels, imaging procedures like ultrasound or MRI to check liver structure, and sometimes a liver biopsy, are all part of the process.
The underlying cause determines treatment for high liver enzymes. Alcoholism, viral hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), medicines, and autoimmune disorders are all common causes. For NAFLD, treatment may include lifestyle adjustments such as alcohol abstinence, weight loss, and nutritional improvements. Antiviral medicines may be prescribed for viral hepatitis.
If medicines is causing the rise, medication changes may be required. Immunosuppressive medications can be used to treat autoimmune liver disorders. The key to managing increased liver enzymes is to identify and treat the underlying cause and have regular monitoring and follow-up treatment with a healthcare practitioner to check progress and liver health
When To See A Doctor
You should see your doctor if you suspect elevated liver enzymes. In case of experiencing symptoms that are associated with elevated levels, you need to see your doctor. It is possible for elevated ALT levels to develop because of cell injury or damage. When ALT levels are very high, it may suggest the existence of a severe liver illness.
Results of the ALT test that are abnormal are often associated with liver disorders such as hepatitis, nephrotic syndrome, and cirrhosis. In case of abnormally high levels of the enzyme, you need to visit your healthcare provider. Mildly elevated liver enzymes should also be investigated immediately. If your blood test shows high levels of liver enzymes, speak with your healthcare practitioner right away.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about elevated liver enzymes or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.