Liver Enzymes- Elevated: Liver enzymes are proteins that help to speed up a chemical reaction in the liver. According to Wikipedia, liver function tests, which include liver enzymes, are groups of laboratory blood assays designed to give information about the state of a patient’s liver. The most commonly used indicators of liver damage are the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), sometimes called the SPGT and SGOT.
These are enzymes generally found in liver cells that leak into the bloodstream when there is an injury to the liver’s cells. The ALT is used as primarily to detect liver inflammation, as AST is also found in other organs of the body, like the heart. The liver itself is used to store, metabolize, and excrete different chemicals in the human body.
Liver Enzymes- High: Therefore, having a high level of liver enzymes can be problematic for several reasons. Elevated liver enzymes can be a sign of hepatitis and liver inflammation. On the flip side, with liver disease, the enzymes may be within the normal range. Thus, it is important for doctors and patients to understand the specific causes and symptoms that come with different elevated liver enzymes.
Liver Enzymes- Cause: Increased levels of ALT and AST can mean many different things ranging from cirrhosis to heart attack to severe burns. You are encouraged to do more research on elevated liver enzymes and study the different causes and symptoms of each of these disorders and diseases.
Liver Enzymes-Symptoms: Some additional symptoms to look out for include lower right chest pain, fever, tenderness in the abdominal region, yellow skin or whites of eyes (jaundice), foul breath, vomiting blood or passing tarry stools, ankle edema and anemia. The enzyme levels alone do not always tell doctors the full story. Symptoms that patients experience are used along with the enzyme levels to make a proper diagnosis.
A normal range of liver enzymes is usually from 5 to 40 units per liter of serum for SGOT and from 7 to 56 units per liter of serum for SGPT. Abnormal would be anything outside of those ranges. If the levels are low, it could be due to anything from poor kidney function and malnutrition to pregnancy or diarrhea. Depending on which types of enzymes are below normal, combined with the physical symptoms, doctors can make a correct diagnosis. If enzyme levels are high in the liver, it could be an indication of hepatitis, fatty liver, or another potentially fatal problem. If you are pregnant and in labor, high enzyme levels could also be an indicator of elevated haemolysis low platelet (HELLP), and in this case, the baby usually needs to be delivered as soon as possible.Depending on the different liver enzymes and presenting symptoms, combined with whether or not the enzyme level is low or elevated, it usually not too difficult to diagnose the problem and prescribe a method of treatment. There are things each of us can do to prevent our livers from becoming unhealthy in the first place. That includes maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen, eating low-fat, high anti-oxidant foods, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. It is always a smart decision to get routine physical exams and undergo liver enzyme testing if your doctor suggests it. It just might save your life!