Mahatma Gandhi once said, "It is health which is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver." This statement has never been more true. The changes brought about by the pandemic in recent years have re-emphasized the importance of health. Being healthy and physically fit is key to living a longer, happier, and more fulfilling life.
In recent years, the prevalence of chronic illnesses has been increasing. Knowing if you have a particular chronic condition is the first step in prevention and treatment. The liver is the second largest organ in the body that helps with functions such as filtration, digestion, and more. When your liver is damaged and not working efficiently, it can result in liver disease. Given the severity of liver disease, it is important to check if you have or are at risk of any liver conditions. Luckily, innovative companies, such as Fibronostics, strive to help people understand and treat liver diseases they might have. This article will briefly outline the different liver function and screening tests available
The Diagnosis of Liver Disease
To determine if you are at risk of liver disease, you can do the following tests and screening methods:
1. Go for a Blood Test
The fastest and most effective way to check your liver is to do a blood test. Generally, a doctor will send you for a liver function test. This test will analyze the level of enzymes in your liver cells and the proteins in your blood. Suppose the level of enzymes and proteins in your blood is high. In that case, it will indicate that your liver isn't functioning correctly. Additionally, the results of your blood tests will provide an idea of a treatment plan if you have a liver condition.
The most common liver function blood tests include:
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- Alanine transaminase (ALT) is an enzyme that helps convert proteins into energy for the liver cells. High levels of ALT only occur when your liver is damaged.
- Aspartate transaminase (AST) assists with metabolizing amino acids. Similar to ALT, high amounts of AST suggest liver damage.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme in the liver and bone. It aids in the breaking down of proteins.
- Albumin is one of the proteins that is made in the liver. If your blood tests show lower-than-normal levels of albumin, then there is a possibility that your liver is damaged.
- Bilirubin is produced when red blood cells break down. High levels of Bilirubin show liver damage or anemia.
- Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) is a type of enzyme that can be found in the blood. If your GGT levels are high, then there is a possibility that your liver is damaged.
- L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD) is an enzyme in the liver that assists with anaerobic respiration. High levels of LD show liver damage and other illnesses such as anemia and cancer.
2. Image Testing
There are three main image tests that you can go for to diagnose liver disease. These are:
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) use magnets to create a detailed picture of the liver.
- A CT (computerized tomography) scan uses X-ray equipment to produce several digital images of your liver.
- An ultrasound uses sound waves to track the movement of blood flow to and from the liver.
These scans will be able to detect if there is any scarring or tumors in your liver. Based on the images, a doctor can determine the severity of the liver disease if your liver is damaged. In addition, these liver scans can be used to track your liver condition's progress.
3. Liver Biopsy
If your blood tests and liver scans show signs of liver damage, your doctor might recommend a liver biopsy. A small sample of liver tissue is removed using a thin needle during a liver biopsy. This tissue sample is sent to a laboratory which will be able to give you an in-depth analysis of your liver. A liver biopsy can tell you if you have liver disease or are at risk of liver disease. In addition, a biopsy can be used to provide an accurate measure of the severity of the liver disease.
Everything You Need to Know About Testing for Liver Disease
Liver disease is a severe long-term condition that can affect how you live your life. As a result, knowing the state of your liver function, especially when you get older, is important. This article outlines some of the most common liver screening methods to determine if you are at risk of liver disease.