Standard Liver Blood Test
Liver health blood tests (formerly known as Liver Function Test LFT’s) 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.
Our liver is a vital organ for our health. It has several functions such as fighting infection and disease, filtering and cleansing the blood, controlling cholesterol levels, and produces enzymes and other proteins for example along with other vital functions.
In some cases our lifestyle may affect our liver function and health. For example, if you drink too much alcohol on a regular basis, are overweight or take certain medications, your liver may be affected.
It is recommended that no more than 14 units of alcohol should be drunk per week. It is also important to have 2-3 alcohol free days per week to allow the liver to recover. If you regularly consume excess alcohol a liver test is recommended.
Common medications which are known to potentially affect the liver may be:
- Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s)
- Anti seizure medication
Liver disease doesn’t always cause noticeable signs and symptoms. If signs and symptoms of liver disease do occur, the may include:
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine color
- Pale stool color
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Tendency to bruise easily
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 for liver health
The test can be performed using a small amount of blood from a finger prick which you can do yourself.
How often should I have a liver blood test?
We recommend checking your liver health when you experience any health changes, any symptoms listed, or six months after commencing a healthier lifestyle, such as giving up alcohol.
- Regularly taking medication which may affect your liver
- Regularly drinking excess alcohol
- Poor diet
- Carrying excess weight
This blood test is to check on:
- Liver Health (Previously known as Liver Function Test “LFT’s”)
For best results (if medically suitable) it is advisable to fast (water is allowed) 12 hours prior to the test which needs to be taken first thing in the morning and posted on the same day on a Monday, Tuesday,or Wednesday.
Collection method: Finger prick
Results available: 2-3 days after the sample has reached the laboratory.
Bilirubin is the end product of the breakdown of red blood cells (haemoglobin) It is produced in bone marrow cells and the liver. Bilirubin is a brownish yellow substance and is found in bile which is a fluid in your liver which helps breakdown food. It is excreted through urine and faeces.
The blood test measures the amount of bilirubin in your blood.
Albumin, also known as ALB, is a protein made by your liver. Albumin is used to carry hormones, vitamins and enzymes around the body and keep fluid in your
bloodstream to avoid leaking into other tissues.
Globulins are a serum protein needed for our growth and development and overall health.
They are produced in the liver and immune system. Different proteins make up the globulin family and many bind with haemoglobin in the blood. Some are involved in the transportation of metals such as iron, whilst others are part of the immune system to help fight infections.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
Alkaline Phosphatase known commonly as ALP is an enzyme mainly found in the liver, kidneys, bones and digestive system.
The test measures the ALP in your blood.
Alanine Transaminase (ALT)
Alanine Transaminase, known as ALT, is an enzyme most commonly found in the liver. Damaged liver cells release ALT into the bloodstream.
The test measures the amount of ALT in the blood.
Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)
Gamma-glutamyl transferase, commonly known as GGT, is an enzyme found throughout the body, however it is most commonly found in the liver.
The test will measure the amount of GGT in the blood.
Proteins are important building blocks for the health and growth of the body’s cells and tissues.
A total protein test measures the amount of albumin and globulin in your body.