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Elevated Liver Enzymes

Hearing that one has elevated liver enzymes may be scary. However, the term actually could refer to any one of a number of conditions, and does not necessarily indicate any specific disease. Symptoms may be present, but it is also possible to have elevated liver enzymes with an underlying liver disease, yet have no noticeable symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with elevated liver enzymes, your doctor may recommend that you have further testing.

More information about elevated liver enzyme symptoms is available.

Elevated liver enzymes are also often called elevated transaminases. At times the more simple term transaminitis is also used. The particular enzymes which are commonly elevated are alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST). In most cases of liver disease, ALT levels will rise above that of AST, however, in the case of greater AST levels alcoholic liver disease is a potential underlying condition.

You can read more here about the liver function tests themselves.

Although elevated liver enzymes are quite often present in liver injury, they are also noticed in other conditions. Therefore, a diagnosis of elevated liver enzymes in itself does not even confirm any sort of liver damage in the patient. In agreement with this point, previously, liver enzyme levels were actually used as part of the process of diagnosing a heart attack. Recently, however, enzymes more specific to heart damage have been preferred.

Some common causes of elevated liver enzymes are:

Alcohol consumption

Autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, or other autoimmune disorders of the liver or bile ducts

Diabetes and lupus

High triglycerides, obesity, or heart failure

Fatty liver disease

Gallstones, pancreatitis

Hemochromatosis, Wilson's disease, or other metabolic liver diseases

Viral hepatitis, mononucleosis, or other infections

Liver cancer

Medications such as some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cholesterol medications, anti-biotics or anti-seizure medicines.

Tumors of the liver, pancreas or bile ducts

Using too much of kava kava, comfrey, pennyroyal, skullcap, or particular other herbal supplements

You can continue reading a larger list of elevated liver enzymes causes.

You should talk with your doctor directly regarding treatment options for elevated liver enzymes, as the underlying condition will change which treatments are better or worse for your case.

Additional information on liver disease is also available.

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