Liver Function Tests Explained

LFTs – Liver Function Tests

Your liver is a star organ continually working hard to ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs, while extracting harmful toxins from your blood. But how do you know whether your liver is living up to its full potential?

If your liver is damaged or diseased, its ability to perform becomes significantly impeded. People with an increased chance of liver damage and/or people showing symptoms of liver disease should check to make sure their liver is happy and healthy.

Liver function tests, or LFTs, are blood tests. The results from these tests can provide important information about your liver, and whether it is functioning correctly. Liver cells produce a number of proteins and enzymes, and these are released into the blood when the liver is damaged. LFTs measure the levels of a number of these proteins and enzymes to determine how your liver is working.

If the liver function tests are abnormal, further testing might be necessary to find the cause of the liver damage/disease.


Why would you need this test?

A liver specialist or your doctor might recommend LFTs if you have an increased chance of liver damage and/or if you have any of the following symptoms:
· Weakness or tiredness
· Jaundice
· Abdominal pain or swelling
· Dark urine
· Loss of appetite
· Nausea and vomiting


You might also be requested to have LFTs if you:

· Have liver disease or damage
· Are a heavy drinker
· Are, or might be, infected with hepatitis viruses
· Take drugs that can damage the liver
· Have a family history of liver disease.

LFTs aren’t always accurate and can be affected by conditions in the body. In some instances, LFT results can come back as abnormal when there is no problem with the liver, or normal in cases of severe liver damage. You should always discuss your results with your doctor or a liver specialist to understand their meaning.