What We Test For
A protein that is made in your liver. It helps to transport nutrients and hormones, as well as helps to grow and repair tissues in your body.
A group of proteins made in your liver. Globulins are important in liver function, blood clotting and fighting infections.
Your albumin and globulin levels combined.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
A protein enzyme that is only found in your liver, so it’s a good indicator of your liver function. A high ALT level can indicate liver damage as the ALT protein is released from the damaged liver cells into the bloodstream.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
Your liver is one of the main sources of ALP, but some are also made in your bones, intestines, pancreas, and kidneys.
Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)
A protein enzyme found mainly in the liver. A high GGT can indicate damage to the liver or bile ducts.
A yellow pigment. High bilirubin levels can be a sign that your liver is damaged. Sometimes high levels can be caused by Gilbert’s syndrome, a harmless inherited disorder.
Liver Function Test - FAQs
How Do You Test Liver Function At Home?
Liver function tests are blood tests that can help show up potential liver disease or liver damage. The tests measure the levels of certain proteins and enzymes in your blood.
Taking an at-home liver function test couldn’t be simpler: Once you’ve placed your order, we will send you a kit containing everything you need to supply us with a small blood sample. This involves a simple finger prick with a small, sterilised lancet, which you can carry out in the comfort of your home. You then post this sample to our laboratory in the pre-paid envelope provided, and we’ll do the rest!
What Is The Liver?
The liver is a large organ that sits just under your rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. It is essential in breaking down and synthesizing compounds in the body.
Liver disease can be inherited (genetic), but the liver can also be damaged by various factors such as viruses, alcohol consumption and obesity.
What Are The Symptoms Of Liver Damage?
Liver disease doesn’t always cause noticeable signs and symptoms. However, over time, damage to the liver can lead to scarring (cirrhosis). If liver damage becomes more severe, symptoms may include:
- Skin and eyes that appear yellowish (jaundice)
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- Itchy skin
- Dark urine colour
- Pale stool colour
- Chronic fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Tendency to bruise easily.
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your GP.
Which Tests Are Included In The YorkTest Liver Function Test?
Albumin is a protein in your blood plasma. Low albumin levels might result from kidney disease, liver disease, inflammation, or infections. High albumin levels are usually the result of dehydration or severe diarrhoea.
Your immune system and liver make globulin proteins. Your body needs globulins to fight off viruses and infections, form blood clots, and keep the liver and kidneys functioning.
The sum of albumin and globulin in the serum.
Alanine transaminase (ALT), also known as alanine aminotransferase, is an enzyme that’s found throughout your body, yet it’s primarily found in your liver. It is a marker for liver damage but may also increase muscle damage.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), like ALT, is an enzyme found throughout your body and primarily in your liver. Very high levels are found in Paget’s disease and obstructive jaundice, whilst moderate elevations can be found in infective liver diseases, cirrhosis, and liver tumours.
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), or gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, is an enzyme found throughout your body, primarily in your liver. GGT is a sensitive marker of liver damage, viral hepatitis, and fatty liver disease. It can also be elevated due to alcohol and drug consumption and other non‐liver disease states, including pancreatitis, diabetes, and obesity.
Bilirubin is produced when the red blood cells in your body finish their life cycle and are broken down to pass through your bloodstream to your liver for processing. Your liver then sorts bilirubin with other waste products into a bile fluid. Bilirubin has a red-orange colour, which gives bile its distinctive colour.
Is Low/High Liver Function A Sign Of Liver Damage?
In most cases, the low levels of liver enzymes, such as ALT, are not a cause of concern. However, elevated levels may indicate that your liver is not working properly.
The effects of decreased liver function may be:
- Jaundice: caused by excessive amounts of bilirubin (a pigmented waste product of old red blood cells) in the bloodstream.
- Cholestasis: occurs when the flow of bile stops because of a blockage inside or outside the liver. Abdominal discomfort or “feeling full” due to an enlarged liver.
- Liver encephalopathy: toxins can build up and travel to the brain when the liver fails to filter blood normally and remove harmful substances from the bloodstream.
- Liver failure occurs when many liver cells are damaged and are no longer able to function at all.
What Causes Liver Damage?
Damaged or inflamed liver cells release enzymes into the bloodstream; these elevated liver enzymes may be caused by:
- Fatty liver disease: fats build up in the liver. If this build-up is due to alcohol consumption, it is called alcoholic fatty liver disease. When alcohol is not the cause of the build-up of fat, it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
- Metabolic syndrome: a group of symptoms that increase the risk of heart disease. These symptoms include high blood sugar, high blood pressure, overweight, and high cholesterol.
- Hepatitis: a virus that leads to liver inflammation. Alcohol or drug misuse
- Cirrhosis: permanent scarring of the liver, which can impair its function.
Is Liver Damage Reversible?
In short: Yes. The liver is the only organ that can repair itself, and making certain lifestyle changes can reverse liver damage as long as the damage hasn’t gone too far:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Regular exercise
- Cutting down on highly processed foods and drinks
- Look after your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Reducing or, better still, removing alcohol