If you have concerns about your liver health due to lifestyle factors such as drinking too much alcohol, being overweight, taking certain medications or family history of liver disease, these tests are ideal for you.
Blood test for Liver
If you are suffering from impaired liver function, you might be experiencing a series of symptoms that include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fatigue. You may also notice that your urine is noticeably darker than usual and that stools have become lighter in colour. Our simple and easy to administer finger prick liver blood tests will look at levels of enzymes, protein and other substances produced by the liver. These include bilirubin and lactate dehydrogenase.
Blood tests for liver health
Liver blood tests look to understand how well the liver is functioning and can be an indicator of whether there has been any damage or inflammation caused to the liver and what levels of damage might have been caused.
A liver blood test will measure the amounts of proteins, enzymes and other substances that are produced by the liver to assess if any of these levels fall into the category of abnormal.
Testing liver enzymes
The liver produces several enzymes that help the body with different processes. Our blood liver test will test for levels of:
Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) are enzymes which are found in the liver cells, which are called hepatocytes. These enzymes, ALT and AST, will leak into the bloodstream when liver cells are damaged and, therefore, are a good indicator of levels of inflammation of the liver. Raised levels of ALT and AST are often connected with conditions such as hepatitis – it is likely that hepatitis would be evidenced by ALT and AST levels twenty to fifty times higher than normal. While AST levels could be elevated because of muscle damage in other parts of the body, the ALT level is very closely linked to liver function.
ALT and AST levels can be indicative of the levels of liver scarring (known as fibrosis) that may be present in the liver. Scarring can be caused by conditions which include non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcohol-related liver disease.
Levels of the enzyme alkaline phosphatase are tested by the liver blood test. Alkaline phosphatase is mostly found in the liver’s bile ducts. Alongside raised levels of y-Glutamyltransferase (GGT), another liver enzyme, increased levels of ALP are an indication of obstructive or cholestatic liver disease. This represents a blocked flow of bile from the liver because of a bile duct obstruction. GGT levels are a reliable indicator of the amount of alcohol consumed but they may also be raised in the case of non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
An increase in bilirubin can lead to jaundice, which is a yellowing of both the eyes and skin. While it may already be evident from the outward appearance, a liver blood test can confirm jaundice. Bilirubin is the main pigment in bile – the green/yellow substance created by the liver to help digestion.
Another protein that is made by the liver is albumin. Responsible for around 60 per cent of the total amount of protein in the blood, albumin helps to grow and repair tissue as well as preventing fluid from leaking from the blood’s vessels and transporting both hormones and nutrients around the body. Liver damage can be evidenced by decreased albumin levels.
What can a liver blood test show?
Testing the blood for liver health can indicate a number of conditions and health issues or it can be used as part of a diagnosis. Issues that impact the health of the liver include hepatitis, cirrhosis and non-alcohol related fatty liver disease.
Blood testing for the liver can also show how treatment of liver disease is working or if there has been exposure to a hepatitis virus.