Wondering what does AST or ALT mean in that blood test report? Learn more about AST, ALT and the symptoms of slight elevation of liver enzymes.
Did your last routine visit to the doctor result in finding about elevated liver enzymes? Well, it could have, as high levels of liver enzymes are among common findings of blood tests. So what does it actually mean to have high liver enzymes and are there any symptoms of elevated liver enzymes? Your blood has low levels of several enzymes and high levels of an enzyme may hint towards an unhealthy organ in the body. For example, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) are the most common enzymes associated with the liver. Any kind of liver damage may result in high levels of these enzymes getting released to the bloodstreams.
What leads to elevated liver enzymes
While the normal levels of liver enzymes are 5 to 40 units per litre of serum for AST and 7 to 56 units per litre of serum for ALT, a blood test may show higher levels of these enzymes in the blood. The common reasons for high liver enzymes include fatty liver, prescription or over-the-counter medicines, drinking alcohol, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, heart disease, celiac disease, and muscle injury.
Symptoms of elevated liver enzymes
Although, a blood test is the only way to confirm high levels of liver enzymes, there can be several signs of mildly elevated liver enzymes. Here are some of the most common symptoms of elevated liver enzymes.
According to experts if a person has slightly elevated liver enzymes then he/she is likely to also have liver enlargement, also known as hepatomegaly. It is merely because of the fact that both elevated liver enzymes and liver enlargement are associated with liver problems. If you are due for a blood test however you have been told that you have liver enlargement, you can schedule a blood test to check if you have elevated liver enzymes or not. Similarly, if your blood test report says that you have slightly elevated liver enzymes it might also be hinting at possibility if liver enlargement.
Jaundice is a medical condition that results in the skin, the mouth and lips and the while of the eyes turning yellowish caused by accumulation of bilirubin, a greenish yellow fluid produced by the liver. While a healthy liver gets rid of the fluid, a damaged liver may not be able to do so, resulting in jaundice. If you have high levels of liver enzymes, an indicator of liver damage, it may be sign of risk for developing jaundice.
Other signs and symptoms
Slight elevation of the liver enzymes can also have symptoms not related to liver such as poor appetite, fever, nausea and abdominal pain. On the other hand, hepatitis B virus, polymyositis and celiac disease can also cause elevated liver enzymes.
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