Liver Function Test – Everything You Should Know About It

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Liver Function Test

Usually, we consult a doctor wherever we fall ill or have a health issue. In the case of indigestion, acidity, gas formation, or allied liver problem, a respective doctor recommends an LFT test in Noida or your locality to know whether your liver is functioning well or not. As a health-conscious person, you should know all associated points of liver function tests before getting them done. Keep reading this post to the end.

What are liver function tests?

Also acknowledged as a liver panel, a liver function test (LFT) is a series of blood tests that a respective doctor recommends to diagnose and monitor liver damage or diseases. Through the test, technicians measure the levels of particular proteins and enzymes in your blood. Some LFT tests measure the normal functions of the liver – protein production and bilirubin (a waste product) clearance.  

Why does your doctor recommend a liver function test to you? Or why it is done   

Your doctor asks you for a liver function test for:

  • Screening liver infections, like hepatitis
  • Monitoring the development of a disease (viral or alcoholic hepatitis) and determining the effectiveness of a liver Treatment 
  • Measuring the severity of liver disease, especially liver scarring (cirrhosis)
  • Monitoring the probable side effects of medications

What does an LFT test include?

A liver function test examines specific proteins and enzyme levels in your blood. Lower or higher levels can help your doctor determine your liver problems. An LFT test usually includes:

  • ALT (Alanine transaminase) – Found in the liver, this enzyme helps your body convert proteins into energy for the cells of your liver. If the liver has any damage, there is a release of ALT in the bloodstream that causes an increase in its level.
  • AST (Aspartate transaminase) – This enzyme is responsible for the metabolization of amino acids. Like ALT, AST is at low levels in the blood. An increase in its level can be a warning sign of liver disease or muscle damage.  
  • ALP (Alkaline phosphatase – Available in the liver, ALP is crucial for protein breaking down. Higher levels of ALP can link to liver disease, damage, or particular bone diseases.   
  • Bilirubin – It is a substance that gets produced during the normal breakdown process of red blood cells. After passing through the liver, it is flushed out as stool. Increased bilirubin levels can indicate specific types of anemia and liver damage. 
  • Albumin and total protein – Albumin is among the proteins made in your liver. Your body needs these proteins to perform the respective functions and fight against infections. Its lower level is a sign of liver disease or damage.    

When do you need to have a liver function test?

Your doctor will recommend a liver function test if you have liver disease symptoms. The symptoms could be:

  • Nausea 
  • Jaundice 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Diarrhea
  • Light-colored stool  
  • Dark-colored urine 
  • Fatigue 

Your doctor can recommend this test to you if you:

  • Have a medical history of liver diseases in your family 
  • Think you had exposure to the hepatitis virus
  • Have an alcohol use disorder 
  • Take medications that could damage your liver  

How to prepare yourself for an LFT test 

Your doctor or path lab technician may ask you not to eat anything before 12 hours of the scheduled test time. The expert can produce more advice pieces if required. 

What to expect during or after the test 

Your liver function test is similar to other diagnostic tests. It would help if you sat on a chair or table at the lab, and the pathologist would draw some blood from the vein of your bent arm using a needle. The needle has an attached tube for the collection of the extracted blood. You may experience a little discomfort during needle insertion and removal. 

After taking the blood sample, experts analyze the same. If you have this test at the lab, you can expect to get your test results within hours. You can expect your test results within a few days if the test is done offsite. 

Any side effects of a liver function test

There are no long-term side effects of an LFT test. However, you can experience a little discomfort when a needle insertion and removal takes place for taking blood samples. You can get rid of pain or bruising quickly.   

What are average LFT test results?

The normal test results are as follows:

  • ALT – 7 to 55 units per liter (U/L)
  • AST – 8 to 48 U/L
  • ALP – 40 to 129 U/L
  • Albumin – 3.5 to 5.0 grams per deciliter (g/dL)
  • Total protein – 6.3 to 7.9 g/dL
  • Bilirubin – 0.1 to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • GGT – 8 to 61 U/L
  • LD – 122 to 222 U/L
  • PT – 9.4 to 12.5 seconds   

Conclusion 

A liver function test is crucial to diagnose and treat liver issues. In the test, there are measurements of specific proteins and enzymes. Having an idea about all the points of LFT benefits you and will help you get maximum benefits while having this test. A liver function test is also included in the full body checkup Test.

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