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Liver Disease | Liver Enzymes: What Are They, Why Are They Important?

These enzymes are also found in other parts of the body, including cardiac muscle, skeletal muscle, kidneys, brain, pancreas and lungs and both white and red blood cells.

It can be fairly common to get laboratory report of elevated liver enzymes. . To determine the underlying cause of elevated liver enzymes, your doctor may recommend additional tests. Tests might include a direct physical examination by the doctor, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, biopsy, and liver blood tests.

There are few outward symptoms of severe liver disease. Possible symptoms, however, include pain in the lower right chest region, a noticeable size increase of the liver below the rib cage on the right, and visible jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes).

The causes of elevated liver enzymes vary widely depending upon the level and duration liver problems as well as the overall comparison of many other blood test indications. Common causes of elevated liver enzymes include:

Autoimmune disorders of the liver and bile ducts, such as autoimmune hepatitis.
Drinking too much alcohol
Elevated triglycerides
Excessive use of certain herbal supplements, such as kava, comfrey, pennyroyal and skullcap
Infections such as viral hepatitis and mononucleosis
Medications, including certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cholesterol-lowering medications, antibiotics and anti-seizure medications
Metabolic liver disease, such as hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease
Tumors of the liver or bile ducts.

Treatment of elevated liver enzymes depends on the cause. It is especially important for you to talk to your doctor about any nutritional or herbal supplements you are taking. Many Chinese herbal preparations have been found to be extremely damaging to the liver and should be avoided as well as high doses of vitamin A and high doses of acetaminophen (Tylenol), especially if taken with alcohol. Sedatives and all unnecessary medications should also be avoided. Anyone who is overweight or obese should work with their doctor to try to take off some pounds. High fat diets can be stressful to the liver and cause injury.

Most of all, it’s extremely important for anyone with elevated liver enzymes to avoid alcohol in all forms.

About the Author:

By: George McKenzie

For more information, click on Liver Health and Wellness. George McKenzie is a retired TV anchor, medical reporter and radio talk show host.

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