Liver Function Screen

What is Liver Function Screening?

Liver function screening comprises a series of blood tests designed to assess the health and functionality of the liver. These tests measure various enzymes, proteins, and substances in the blood that indicate how well the liver is functioning. Common tests included in liver function screening panels are:

  1. Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST): Elevated levels of these enzymes may indicate liver damage or injury.

  2. Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP): Elevated ALP levels may suggest liver or bone disorders.

  3. Bilirubin: High levels of bilirubin can indicate liver dysfunction or problems with bile flow.

  4. Albumin and Total Protein: These tests measure the levels of proteins produced by the liver. Abnormal levels may indicate liver disease or malnutrition.

  5. Prothrombin Time (PT) and International Normalized Ratio (INR): These tests assess blood clotting function, which can be affected by liver disease.

Benefits and Importance of Liver Function Screening:

  • Early Detection of Liver Disease: Liver function screening can detect liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease at an early stage when interventions are most effective.

  • Monitoring Liver Health: For individuals with known liver conditions or those at risk due to factors like alcohol consumption or certain medications, regular liver function screening helps monitor liver health and disease progression.

  • Assessment of Treatment Efficacy: Liver function tests are often used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments for liver diseases, such as medications or lifestyle modifications.

  • Identification of Underlying Health Conditions: Abnormal liver function test results may indicate underlying health conditions beyond liver disease, such as gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, or certain infections.

When is Liver Function Screening Recommended?

Liver function screening may be recommended in the following situations:

  • Routine health check-ups, especially for individuals with risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, or a history of liver disease.
  • Monitoring the health of individuals with known liver conditions, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.
  • Assessing liver function before starting certain medications known to affect the liver.
  • Investigating symptoms suggestive of liver disease, such as jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea, or unexplained weight loss.

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