Some blood tests are used to determine
whether your liver is damaged or inflamed. Although these tests help your
doctor evaluate how well your liver is working, they cannot tell if you have
Your doctor may
do tests to measure certain chemicals produced by the liver. These tests can
help your doctor check how well your liver is working.
liver may be damaged if you have increased levels of:
An increased level of
alkaline phosphatase (AP) may indicate blockage of
Liver tests are done when a medical
history or physical exam suggests that something may be wrong with your
These tests can also help diagnose long-term (chronic)
infection. Hepatitis C infection is considered chronic when liver enzymes
remain elevated for longer than 6 months.
If you are being treated
with antiviral therapy, you may have liver tests from time to time to see
whether treatment is working.
Findings of liver function tests may include
All levels are within the normal range.
One or more levels are outside the normal range.
Abnormal liver function tests may indicate that your liver is inflamed or is
not working normally. This can be a sign that you have a viral
Elevated liver enzymes can be
caused by many things other than hepatitis C, such as
hepatitis B, autoimmune hepatitis, certain medicines,
or long-term alcohol use. So you will need other tests (such as a hepatitis C
antibody blood test or a liver biopsy) to confirm a diagnosis of hepatitis
People with chronic hepatitis C have abnormal liver enzyme
levels most of the time. But the levels can fluctuate between normal and
abnormal throughout the course of the disease.
Liver tests can be
used to help you and your doctor develop a treatment plan. Signs that you might
need treatment include:
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
July 6, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
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