Liver function tests, also called liver chemistries are medical procedures performed to determine the health of the liver by measuring the level of proteins, liver enzymes and bilirubin in your body. The test results, either higher or lower than the typical levels of these proteins and enzymes can determine whether the liver is healthy or if there is a problem with the liver.
The doctor may recommend liver function tests to screen for diseases such as hepatitis, or monitor the side effects of your medications as well as examine the severity of liver diseases.
A doctor may recommend a liver function test to check for damage from liver infections, such as hepatitis B and C, especially if it’s caused by a virus.
The test is also done to monitor the side effects of certain medications which are known to affect the liver, including:
- Tuberculosis drugs
- Anti seizure medications
If you have already liver disease, the doctor recommends the test to ensure how well the treatment is working. Additionally, if you experience the symptoms of a liver disorder or have a family history of liver disease such as fatty liver disease.
Apart from all the above, the doctor may also ask for a liver function test if you have certain conditions, such as:
- High triglycerides
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder disease
- Consume excessively
Liver function tests are done to measure specific proteins and enzymes in your blood. Common liver function tests include the following:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT) test
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test
- Albumin test
- Bilirubin test
The healthcare service provider may draw blood in a hospital or at a specialised testing facility. To administer the test, the healthcare technician cleans your skin before the test to decrease the possibility of any microorganism on your skin causing an infection.
After that, the technician wraps an elastic strap on your arm. This helps your vein become more visible. Then the technician uses a needle to draw a sample of blood from your arm. After drawing the blood, the technician place some gauze and a bandage over the puncture site and the sample are sent to a laboratory for testing.