Liver Function Test: Know the Purpose, Procedure and Risk

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Liver Function Test: Know the Purpose, Procedure and Risk
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The liver is a vital organ performing necessary life processes. A liver functioning test or an LFT Test is a type of blood test that checks the proper functioning of the liver. This blood test checks the presence of various proteins, enzymes, waste products, and other substances that the liver produces. In this article, we will learn more about the liver functioning test.

Why does one need this test?

One might need a liver functioning test if one feels the symptoms are related to any liver disorder or functioning problems. This test is also recommended for those indulging in an overdose of medicine or substance abuse. Common symptoms of liver disease are as follows:

  • Weakness or weight loss
  • Fatigue 
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea
  • Bodily discharge- Dark-colored urine or Light-colored stool
  • Jaundice 
  • Abdominal pain

These are the most immediate physical symptoms one must look out for before conducting this test. Other than these symptoms, the LFT test must also be considered if the family has a history of liver-related diseases. 

Types of liver function test

Since the liver produces various enzymes, proteins as well as wastages, the liver functioning test or LFT test also has its various types to measure or indicate different liver diseases or issues. A few of the most common tests are as follows:

  • Alanine transaminase (ALT)– This test is administered to check ALT enzymes in the liver, that help convert protein to energy; if the liver is damaged it is released into the bloodstream.
  • Aspartate transaminase (AST)– This test is administered to check AST enzymes in the blood, a higher indication reflects liver-related problems. 
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)– This test is administered to check ALP enzymes in the blood at a higher-than-normal level in the liver in bones indicating liver-related problems.
  • Albumin and total protein– Albumin is one of the proteins made in the liver along with other proteins. This test is administered to check the Albumin level in the body, a lower-than-normal level indicates liver-related problems.
  • Bilirubin– This test is administered to check Bilirubin level in the body, a higher-than-normal level indicates damage to the liver.
  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) – This test is administered to check the GGT enzyme in the blood, higher than normal levels indicate a problem with the liver
  • L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD) – This test is administered to check LD enzyme in the blood, a higher-than-normal level indicates a problem with the liver
  • Prothrombin time (PT) – This test is administered to check PT in the blood, a higher-than-normal level indicates a problem with the liver.

Conduction and risks involved

The liver functioning test is a blood test. its Conduction is simple and not very painful. A small blood sample is required for the Conduction of the test, this blood sample is taken using an injection, and can be done by a hospital or any local blood test lab. 

The liver works in breaking down, creating nutrients as well as metabolism for the body, it is essential to keep in check what one consumes before taking the test. Fasting before the LFT test is recommended, it is better to do so under the consultation of a doctor. It is recommended to not take any medicines or indulge in substance abuse before the test as it would affect the results. 

Since the LFT test is simple, it does not have any risks associated with it, it can cause a bruise or pain in the arm the blood is drawn from, but other than that the test is safe to conduct.

Liver test result and interpretation

The liver functioning test has different test results based on the test administered, it differs between men and women. here is the ideal result that you should expect after an LFT test:

  • ALT: 7 to 56 U/L (units per litre)
  • AST: 14 to 20 units/L in men and 10 to 36 units/L in women
  • ALP: 44 to 147 international units per litre (IU/L) 
  • Bilirubin: 0.3 – 1.2 mg/dL
  • GGT: 0 to 30 IU/L
  • LD: 100 to 250 U/L
  • PT: 11 to 13.5 seconds

Conclusion

In this article, we have learned more about the liver functioning test or LFT test. We learned how one must go and seek the test if one suffers or shows any of the symptoms of the risk factors involved.

We learned how the negligence of the liver can lead to severe problems such as hepatitis or liver cancer and can have a huge impact on our lives. Thus, if any of the symptoms are there and especially if there exists a family history or history of substance abuse one must get a liver functioning test and seek a doctor if the results are varied from the normal range. 

Hopefully, this article has provided you with everything you need to know about the liver function test and its various stakeholders.

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