Liver function blood test

The liver is one of the largest organs in the body and has various functions. Some of these functions include storing energy, digesting food, and removing poisons. As the liver is such a big organ it can be subject to various diseases such as inflammation, liver dysfunction, scarring, bile duct obstructions, clotting abnormalities. Issues with your liver can be life-threatening and can make someone quite sick. Symptoms of a liver disorder include weakness, weight loss, vomiting, abdominal pain and abnormal bruising and bleeding.

As this is such an important organ in your body it’s essential to see how healthy it is. There are various types of liver functioning tests but the main aim of testing your liver is to look at how effective your liver is.

Liver function tests are blood tests used to help analyse and screen liver disease or damage. The exams ration the levels of certain enzymes and proteins in your blood. A majority of these tests look at how well the liver is performing at normal functions of producing protein and clearing bilirubin (a blood waste product). Some other liver function tests measure enzymes that liver cells release in response to damage or disease.

Other reasons why liver tests are done are:

  • Screen for liver infections, such as hepatitis
  • Monitor the progression of a disease, such as viral or alcoholic hepatitis, and determine how well a treatment is working
  • Measure the severity of a disease, particularly scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
  • Monitor possible side effects of medications

Having a liver function blood test carried out each year is important, particularly if you:

  • Are taking multiple types of medication that can affect your liver
  • Drink a lot of alcohol
  • Have previously had liver disease (e.g. gallstones or hepatitis)
  • Are currently experiencing abdominal pain

Monitoring your liver’s function is best done with a blood test. During your liver blood test, a syringe is used to remove a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. This process will take a few minutes and after this, the blood will be taken to a lab to be assessed.

If you do have a history of taking multiple medications or of having raised levels of excess alcohol in your system, then it is critical that you have an annual liver function test. At your IPSA Medical clinic, your liver function test results only take a maximum of 24 hours to come back in, and your IPSA Medical physician will analyse and interpret them, give you a copy of those results, and clearly explain any findings to you.

When preparing for the exam you will be prohibited from eating certain foods and medications as they may affect the results of your test. One of our doctors will advise you to avoid eating food and taking some medications before your blood is taken.

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