What is a Liver Function Test?
Liver Function Test helps to determine the health of your liver by measuring the levels of proteins, liver enzymes or bilirubin in your blood.
When is the Liver Function Test done?
- To screen for liver infections such as hepatitis C
- To monitor the side effects of certain medications known to affect the liver
- To monitor the liver disease and how well a particular treatment is working
- To measure the degree of scarring (cirrhosis) on the liver
- If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a liver disorder
- If you’re planning on becoming pregnant
What are the most common investigations covered in a Liver Function Test?
- Total Bilirubin
- Direct Bilirubin
- Indirect Bilirubin
- Serum SGPT (ALT)
- Serum SGOT (AST)
- Alkaline Phosphatase
- Total Proteins
- Serum Albumin
- A/G Ratio
- Gamma-Glutamy Tranferase
Why do I need a Liver Function Test?
Liver test can help determine if your liver is working correctly. The liver performs a number of vital bodily functions, such as:
- Removing contaminants from your blood
- Converting nutrients from the foods you eat
- Storing minerals and vitamins
- Regulating blood clotting
- Producing proteins, enzymes, and bile
- Making factors that fight infection
- Removing bacteria from your blood
- Processing substances that could harm your body
- Maintaining hormone balances
Problems with the liver can make a person very sick and can even be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a liver disorder include:
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Weight loss
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
What are the benefits of Liver Function Test?
- Detection of liver disease
- Determining the likely type of disease and possible causes
- Determining the severity or stage of disease
- Monitoring the response to treatment
How to prepare for a Liver Function Test?
Your doctor will give you complete instructions on how to prepare for the blood sample portion of the test. Certain medications and foods may affect levels of these enzymes and proteins in your blood. Your doctor may ask you to avoid some types of medications, or they may ask you to avoid eating anything for a period of time before the test. You may want to wear a shirt with sleeves that can easily be rolled up to make it easier to collect the blood sample.
What follows a Liver Function Test?
After the test, you can usually leave and go about your life as usual. However, if you feel faint or lightheaded during the blood draw, you should rest before you leave the testing facility. When the results are available from the laboratory, your doctor will review them. The results of these tests may not tell your doctor exactly which condition you have or the degree of any liver damage, but they might help your doctor determine the next steps. Your doctor will call you with the results or discuss them with you at a follow-up appointment.
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