It is rightly said, "Your health should be an investment and not an expense." The liver, the second largest organ of the body, performs primary functions. It helps in flushing out toxins that are harmful to us. Our liver performs the essential functions of processing food, making bile, assisting in maintaining our blood sugar levels, and a lot more. It serves more than 500 vital functions. To check the functioning of your liver, it is essential to get it checked regularly. We perform LFT, known as the liver function test, to prevent the functioning of the liver. Let's discuss LFT in detail.
What is Liver Function Tests?
These tests are also known as liver panel tests. They are blood tests that help measure different enzymes, proteins, and various other substances made by the liver, which helps check the liver's overall health. Here are some of the basic types of Liver Function tests that we review on a single blood sample.
It is specifically a protein that is made in the liver.
- The liver makes different enzymes ALP (Alkaline Phosphatase), ALT (Aspartate transaminase), AST (Aspartate aminotransferase), and GGT (Gamma-glutamyl transferase).
- Bilirubin is a waste product made by the liver.
- Lactate dehydrogenase is an enzyme that is found in most body cells. It is released only when any disease or injury has damaged the cells.
- Prothrombin Time is a protein that is involved in blood clotting.
If any level is not in the normal range, it shows liver disease.
Why do I need liver function testing?
If you face any symptoms of liver disease, you must get yourself tested. these may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Light-colored urine
- Dark-colored urine.
When should you get the test done?
You must perform these tests if you are at a higher risk for liver disease.
- If someone in your family has a history of liver diseases
- If you have alcohol use disorder, i.e., when you cannot control how much you drink.
- If you think you had exposure to the hepatitis virus.
- If you have taken some medicines that are not good for your health.
What happens during a liver function test?
A blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm during the test by using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a minimal amount of blood is collected into a test tube. You might feel a slight sting, but that doesn't last for more than 5 minutes.
What do I need to do before performing tests?
You might need to fast, i.e., you should not eat anything for 10-12 hours before the tests.
What do the results mean?
If the tests conducted weren't standard, it may mean your liver is damaged. Liver damage can further result in:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Liver cancer
- Alcohol use disorder.
Is there anything else I should know before liver function tests?
If the reports of the tests aren't standard, the provider may suggest making further investigations to confirm or rule out a specific diagnosis. These tests may include more blood tests, or liver biopsy might be required.