The importance of lab results in the medical field can’t be overemphasized. So when a patient goes to complain to a doctor about having certain symptoms, the first thing is that the doctor would ask questions. The purpose of those questions is to help the physician get a better view of what is happening to the patient. Then after those questions, the doctor has an idea of the possible causes of symptoms. One of the ways for the doctor to confirm is to ask for a lab test. Amongst thousands of tests, we have the liver function test. With the help of this test, you would be able to get cirrhosis lab values of a patient.
Cirrhosis happens to be a condition that causes scarring in the liver of a patient. And the damage done is actually known to prevent the liver from functioning as it should. Many of the functions such as detoxification and purification in the body are deterred. And with that so many symptoms come up in the body. One of the ways to help a doctor confirm that a person really has cirrhosis is the liver function test. Several enzymes are measured in the body. An abnormal result in any of these enzymes is always indicative of a problem. And we will be having a look at what these different enzymes are. As well as the expected results from the lab.
Liver Function Test
So what are liver function tests? These are known to be chemistries that help in the determining of the state of health of your liver. It does this by measuring proteins, enzymes, and bilirubin in the blood.
Liver function tests are recommended in certain situations such as:
- Liver infections such as hepatitis B and C
- If you drink so much alcohol
- To monitor the effects of some medications on the liver
- To monitor liver disease and check for improvements while on a treatment method
- If you have symptoms of liver disorder
- If you have a disease of the gallbladder
- When you are consuming medications for certain conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes
There are actually many tests that can be done on the liver. And the different tests actually reflect different functions of the liver. But there are some of the tests that are most commonly done. And they are:
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
- Alanine transaminase (ALT)
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
The function of the AST and ALT tests is to measure the enzymes released by the liver in response to a disease or damage. As for the albumin test, it measures how well the liver is able to produce albumin. And the bilirubin test is used to measure how well the liver gets rid of bilirubin. ALP, on the other hand, is used for evaluating the bile duct system.
If any of these tests show abnormal results then a follow up must be done. This would actually help determine the exact cause of the problem. Even if the results are mildly elevated, it is indicative of a problem with the liver. The thing though is that these enzymes can also be found in other places apart from the liver.
The best person to talk to is your doctor. Your doctor would be able to answer your questions with regards to the result. And would also be able to diagnose what the exact cause is.
What To Expect Before and After Test
When it comes to liver function test there are some things that should be done before doing the test. And there are some things that would happen after the test.
Before you come for the test, your doctor would give you some instructions. Make sure you follow the instructions to make the blood collection a lot easier.
There are some foods and medications that can affect the level of the proteins and enzymes in the blood. Your doctor might instruct you to stop taking the medication for about a day and resume after the test. You might also be instructed not to take in any food before the blood collection. But water is allowed.
Also, when going for the blood collection you might want to wear short sleeves. This is to make blood collection a lot easier.
So after the test, there is really nothing much to be done. You can go home immediately and continue with your daily activities. The only thing though is that you might feel lightheaded while the blood is being drawn. If this happens make sure you rest a bit before leaving.
Cirrhosis Lab Values
- AST test: The thing with this enzyme is that it can be found in other organs. Some of the other organs are the liver, heart and muscles. So an abnormal result of this enzyme isn’t specific for a problem with the liver. That’s why the ALT test is also carried out. When the AST result is high it can be indicative of a problem with the muscles or liver.
- ALT test: This enzyme is used in the metabolism of protein. And when the liver is damaged there is an increase in the amount of this enzyme released into the blood. And this causes an increase in ALT results. So when the values for this enzyme are higher than normal it is indicative of liver disease.
- ALP test: This is an enzyme that can be found in the liver, bones, and bile ducts. When the levels of this enzyme are high it indicates blocking of bile ducts, bone disease or an inflammation of the liver. Because it isn’t specific it is ordered with other tests. Children and adolescents are known to have increased levels of ALP. And that’s because their bones are still growing. It’s also high in pregnant women.
- Bilirubin: When the level of bilirubin is high in the blood, it is indicative of a problem with the liver.
- Albumin: An albumin test helps check how well the liver is making the protein. When the result is low, it is also indicative of the fact that the liver might not be functioning properly.
With all these tests your doctor would be able to move closer to diagnosing if you have cirrhosis or not. And that’s all thanks to cirrhosis lab values.