A gastroenterologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive system, which includes the stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. The liver is a vital organ that plays an important role in digestion and metabolism. A gastroenterologist may order tests to check the liver for signs of damage or disease.
There are several ways that a gastroenterologist can check the liver. One way is to order a blood test to check for elevated levels of liver enzymes. Liver enzymes are proteins that are produced by the liver. When the liver is damaged or diseased, these enzymes are released into the bloodstream.
Another way to check the liver is to order an imaging test such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. These tests can create pictures of the liver and help the doctor to look for signs of damage or disease.
The best way to check the liver is to perform a liver biopsy. This is a procedure in which a small sample of liver tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. Liver biopsies are usually performed using a needle that is inserted through the skin into the liver. A liver biopsy can provide the most information about the health of the liver and is often used to diagnose liver diseases.
Blood tests called liver function tests are used to monitor and help identify liver damage or illness. The tests check the levels of specific proteins and enzymes in your blood.
Some of these tests assess how well the liver is doing its typical tasks, which include making protein and getting rid of the blood waste product bilirubin. Other tests for liver health examine the enzymes that the liver cells produce in response to injury or illness.
Results of abnormal liver function tests do not always signify liver disease. Your results and what they represent will be explained by your doctor.
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Blood tests called liver function tests, commonly referred to as liver panels examine various enzymes, proteins, and other chemicals produced by the liver. These tests examine your liver’s overall condition. On a single blood sample, various chemicals are frequently evaluated simultaneously and may include the following:
It may be a symptom of liver disease if levels of one or more of these compounds are above or below normal.
Tests of liver function can be used to:
Tests for liver function measure the amounts of specific proteins and enzymes in your blood. Levels that are abnormally high or low can be a sign of liver issues.
Your liver may be damaged or not functioning properly if one or more of the findings of your liver function tests were abnormal. There are numerous disorders that can harm the liver, including:
Speak with your healthcare professional if you have any queries regarding your results.
Your doctor may want more tests to confirm or rule out a particular diagnosis if any of your liver function tests were not normal. These examinations could involve a liver biopsy or further blood testing. A biopsy is a technique where a tiny sample of tissue is removed for analysis.
Liver disease does not always cause noticeable signs and symptoms. If signs and symptoms of liver disease occur, they may include the following:
Parasites and viruses can infect the liver, causing inflammation that decreases liver function. Viruses that cause liver injury can be transmitted through blood or semen, contaminated water or food, or by close contact with a person who is infected.
Blood tests called liver function tests are used to assess the condition of your liver. Doctors may be made aware of potential issues such as liver cancer, fatty liver disease, or hepatitis by changes in specific protein or enzyme levels.
Additionally, liver function tests can help you track the development of liver disease or assess whether specific medications are harming your liver.
Your doctor can assist you in interpreting the findings of a liver function test and can also go over what the results indicate for you personally. You might need to go through more testing like imaging or a liver biopsy if they think you have liver disease.
Your diagnosis will determine how to treat your liver condition. Some liver conditions can be managed with lifestyle changes, such as giving up drinking or shedding weight, usually as part of a medical plan that also includes continuous liver function monitoring. Other liver issues can need surgery or drug treatment.
A liver transplant may eventually be needed as treatment for liver disease that causes or has caused liver failure.
You can take a variety of actions to maintain a healthy liver and lower your chance of developing liver disease: