A liver functioning test is a preliminary test for diagnosing a liver condition. With early indications of abnormal urine or stools, you are urged to visit a doctor. With extended illness, a liver test becomes inevitable. Choosing the correct form of liver test is crucial to an accurate diagnosis.
Important levels like ALT, AST, and bilirubin are monitored in these steps. Good primary and confirmatory tests must be performed to confirm a liver condition. A wrong diagnosis may result in side effects and extended illness.
Your doctor will prescribe the proper test, but a secondary medical opinion based on your own research is always recommended. Understanding what you’re signing up for and its results will help you understand your options better.
When should you get a test?
Your doctor orders a liver functioning test when you want a complete body check-up. Liver diseases are usually coupled with darn urination and abnormal stools. Swelling in joints and yellowness of eyes are other symptoms to look out for.
To diagnose liver disease, an LFT test is performed. Your doctor can decide on the type of test with your consultation after adequate research. Medical opinion is compulsory before receiving treatment for a diagnosis.
Frequent tests to check for your wellness are done to monitor your diagnosis. Response to medication and its different dosages can be recorded by your doctor, and the suitable dosage can be selected to nurse you to health. A complete recovery can only be achieved by regular testing and medication.
The Types of tests
1. Hepatocellular Damage
This kind of liver functioning test will give you results of AST, ALT and the AST: ALT ratio. Elevated levels of AST and ALT indicate hepatocellular damage. ALT has a higher weight because AST levels can also increase with a cardiac or skeletal muscle injury.
This LFT test also measures the AST to ALT ratio, which is more than one for hepatocellular injuries. Alcoholic liver disease has a ratio greater than two. Wilson disease and cirrhosis are other conditions which lead to a ratio greater than two.
This kind of liver functioning test measures ALP, GGT and 5’NT. Increases in ALP levels indicate cholestasis. ALP concentration can be a result of age, pregnancy and sex. Both ALP and GGT elevations confirm hepatic origins. GGT is generally used to evaluate the amount of alcohol intake.
This LFT test is another confirmation test in addition to ALP levels to confirm hepatic causes. These confirmatory factors help differentiate increased levels due to factors other than liver diseases. Normal 5’NT with elevated ALP levels is indicative of hepatobiliary diseases.
3. Nonspecific marker of liver diseases
Bilirubin is measured in this liver functioning test. Elevated levels should be fractionated to get indirect and direct levels. These abnormal levels are used to diagnose cholestasis or hepatocellular damage when you receive positive results with other liver-related tests.
This test is more of a confirmatory test and is usually preceded by other tests. When you receive elevated ALT results by following the above two paths, you can check for bilirubin levels to diagnose specific conditions and receive adequate treatment.
4. Synthetic Function tests
Albumin and PT are measured in this kind of liver functioning test. Liver diseases directly impact the production of albumin and decrease serum albumin concentration. This should be paired with another LFT test to confirm hepatic origins and not just malnutrition which can lead to low albumin levels.
Elevated PT levels are generally treated with Vitamin K supplements. If your levels don’t decrease even with the supplementation, the PT levels are an indication of significant liver damage. Poor liver functioning impacts how the supplements can help fix the levels.
Fibrosis is a form of liver functioning test which uses noninvasive fibrosis staging. Using certain biochemical variables, the degree of fibrosis can be estimated. Fibrosis is a direct result of liver damage, and this test is used to detect it.
A fibrosis score is calculated based on a scale decided by the laboratory. Normal clinical levels are considered, and the score calculated will indicate the amount of liver damage. A lower score is preferred to show lower damage and a more straightforward treatment process. Repeated testing for fibrosis will help you detect any liver problem in its early stage and receive treatment.
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A liver functioning test is detrimental to catching liver-related complications when they are in their initial state. Staying cautious is essential when dealing with fatal abnormalities. Proper research about the types of tests available is crucial to an accurate diagnosis.
An LFT test is beneficial when tested for the correct parameters. Consulting your doctors about your symptoms and understanding your options will help you pick the proper test. A secondary medical opinion is always helpful when it comes from a knowledgeable source.