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How Liver Function Test Works: A Comprehensive Guide

How Liver Function Test Works: A Comprehensive Guide

Max Lab

Nov 09, 2022

The second-largest organ in the body, the liver, is crucial to sustaining general health. While a healthy liver filters toxins from one's body, it also breaks dietary nutrients, releases bile, and stores, uses, and supplies energy. As the liver plays such an important function in the human body, preserving its health should be a top priority for everyone.

Liver function tests, often known as liver chemistries, measure the amounts of proteins, bilirubin, and liver enzymes in one's blood to help evaluate the health of one's liver. They can also track the progression or therapy of a disease that is already present. Depending on the test, greater or lower-than-normal levels of these proteins or enzymes might suggest liver disease. Liver function tests can be performed for a variety of purposes, including screening for disorders such as hepatitis, tracking the adverse effects of one's medicines, and determining the severity of liver problems like fatty liver. Let’s understand it in more detail.

When should a liver function test be performed?

A physician orders a liver function test to determine the presence of liver damage or inflammation. LFTs can help.

  • Check one's liver for infection or inflammation, like hepatitis (infectious or alcoholic)
  • Help in the detection of other disorders like gallstones
  • Determine the course and intensity of the liver disease, as well as the response to therapy
  • If one is using prescription or over-the-counter medications that might affect liver function, keep an eye out for side effects.
  • Weakness or exhaustion
  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • passing dark urine or light-coloured stool
  • Having a history of liver disease in one's family
  • Obesity associated with diabetes or hypertension

How Should One Prepare for a Liver Function Test?

An individual’s doctor will provide one with detailed instructions for preparing for the blood sample phase of the test. Certain medicines and meals can have an effect on the amounts of these proteins and enzymes in one's blood. One's doctor may advise them to avoid certain medicines, prescription or over-the-counter, especially herbal supplements or to refrain from eating anything for the duration of time before the test. There is no specific situation in which this test should have been avoided. Drink plenty of water in the days before showing up for the test. Wear a shirt with simply rolled-up sleeves to make it easy for the medical professional to obtain the blood sample.

How Does a Liver Function Test Work?

Blood might be drawn at a hospital or at a specialist testing facility. To conduct the test:

  • The healthcare specialist will clean the skin before the test to reduce the possibility that any bacteria on one's skin can cause an infection.
  • They'll very probably wrap an elastic band over one's arm. This will make one's veins more visible. They will next take blood samples from one's arm using a needle.
  • After the blood collection, the technician will apply gauze and a bandage to the puncture site. The blood sample will be tested at a laboratory.

Interpreting the Results of a Liver Function Test

Abnormal protein and enzyme levels detected during a liver function test are not always symptomatic of liver disease or condition. There are multiple conditions that can impact the levels of proteins and enzymes in the blood, ranging from dehydration to having just passed a bile duct stone. To properly interpret a liver function test result, all risk factors, the patient's general health, and other factors must be considered. That is why it is essential to visit a medical specialist with the LFT results so that they can provide a thorough diagnosis, prescribe more tests (if necessary), and decide on a treatment plan.

Early detection is essential for the effective treatment of liver conditions and diseases. That is why it is crucial to never overlook any signs of abnormal liver functioning and to get a liver function test at a trustable and reliable laboratory as soon as possible.


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