Friday 28 October 2022

Liver Damage Diagnostics: What Are the Common Types of Liver Tests?

The liver is a vital organ in the human biological makeup. It is responsible for turning nutrients into required chemicals, filtering poisons out of the body system, and turning food into energy needed for bodily functions. Hence, your whole body system will be affected when your liver is not functioning correctly. An estimated 30 million Americans live with one form of liver disease.


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By Mary Tipper

Different factors might cause liver malfunction, such as infections (Hepatitis A, B, C), immune system issues, Cancer and tumors, NAFLD, drug abuse, inherited conditions, and alcohol abuse. Different signs precede or indicate liver damage. However, it would be best to have a proper diagnosis to ascertain the actual liver condition.

Liver damage diagnostics is not as complicated as people think; it all depends on the type of liver test you take. For instance, a quick imaging test cannot compare to a liver biopsy. This article will talk about liver damage diagnostics and standard liver test methods.

What is Liver Damage?

The liver is the second-largest organ in the body. A liver is damaged when it can no longer perform the necessary functions. One or two liver diseases cause Liver Damage. In this case, a liver blood test is required to determine the present liver condition.

Liver disease can cause partial or total damage to the liver. Liver inflammation is partial damage that can lead to Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), where scar tissues replace healthy tissues. This condition can lead to total damage like liver failure or liver cancer if not properly treated.

Types of Liver Problems

There are different types of liver problems that lead to liver damage. These liver conditions have individual causes. Although liver conditions result from human actions or inactions, others are entirely natural. Below are common liver conditions that can prevent the liver from functioning properly.

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: This is commonly called NAFLD. It is a liver condition where fats accumulate in the liver of people with a low level of alcohol. NAFLD can lead to a more severe disease called NASH.

  • Hepatitis A: This is a liver problem caused by a virus infection.
  • Hepatitis B: The hepatitis B virus is responsible for this severe liver infection. However, a vaccine can easily prevent the virus.
  • Hepatitis C: The hepatitis C virus attacks the liver and causes inflammation.
  • Liver Cancer: Liver cancer results from malignant tumors in the liver. This tumor, either benign or malignant, is often caused by the multiplication of abnormal cells in the liver.
  • Wilson disease and hemochromatosis: This liver problem is a genetic liver condition. They are forms of inherited liver disease.

Signs of Liver Damage

Not all liver conditions have symptoms; while some individuals might observe changes, others might not. However, jaundice is a common liver disease symptom. This is not to say that everyone with jaundice has a liver problem. Jaundice is an abnormal yellowing of the skin that develops when the liver cannot clear bilirubin.

You may also experience the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Coloured Urine or stool
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Edema
  • Easily bruising

Common Types of Liver Tests

Liver disease cannot be diagnosed based solely on symptoms. A proper test is needed to determine the actual condition of your liver. The following are the standard test methods:

Blood Tests: This method is used to test liver function. Blood tests are a method used to measure the levels of liver enzymes present in your blood. Abnormal levels are an indication of problems in the functionality of your liver. International normalized ratio(INR) is a blood clotting test that checks liver function.

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Below are the commonly performed liver function blood Tests:

  • Serum bilirubin test: This is used to measure bilirubin levels in the blood
  • Serum Albumin Test: It is used to measure the level of protein in the blood
  • International Normalized Ratio (IRN): This test measures the time it takes blood to clot.
  • Serum Alkaline Phosphate Test: It measures the level of the alkaline phosphate enzyme in the blood.
  • Alanine Transaminase Test(ALT)
  • Aspartame Transaminase Test (AST): This test measures the AST enzyme released into the bloodstream after heart or liver problems.
  • Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase test: It also assesses liver function.
  • Lactic Dehydrogenase Test: It's a test that can locate tissue damage, hence assisting in liver disease diagnosis.
  • 5-Nucleotidase Test: It checks the level of this enzyme in the liver. An elevated level is an indication of liver disease.
  • Imaging Tests: Imagine tests is an Ultrasound which includes:
  • MRI
  • CT scan

These tests provide a vivid picture of liver scarring, tumors, or damage. Fibroscan is another specialized imaging Test that can be used to determine the level of fat deposition or scarring.

Liver Biopsy: A liver biopsy involves using a thin needle to remove a tiny liver tissue as a sample for laboratory examination. The tissue is then analyzed for a sign of abnormality in the liver. This method is the standard invasive method for detecting NASH in the liver.

Early Diagnosis Prevent Liver Failure

Early diagnosis of a liver condition increases the chances of successful treatment. For instance, most liver conditions start with the scarred tissues replacing the normal liver tissues. The liver can resume its usual function if this condition is diagnosed and adequately treated early. This is why you should go for medical checkups regularly.Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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