The liver is the second largest organ in the body after the skin and stores a range of different minerals, vitamins, proteins and fats. Elevated liver enzymes are common in symptom-free adults. In 2004, the normal reference level for AST and ALT was raised, particularly for men, which means that diseases can sometimes now be concealed even in people with levels within the normal reference range. This is particularly applicable to inflammation in cases of fatty liver disease.
Most liver diseases are detected after having undergone a health check where liver enzyme levels have been checked, i.e. AST (aspartate aminotransferase), ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and GT (glutamyl transferase).
Analysing these enzymes in the blood can provide a rapid overview of the condition of the liver. However, the liver enzyme level may be affected by activities performed before the blood sample is taken. For example, these levels may be elevated if you eat too much, work out, drink alcohol or take medicine. Elevated values are also a sign indicating that the liver is not functioning all that well, which in turn may affect other organs.
We check the liver enzymes that flow out into the blood in the event of any liver cell damage. Jaundice, i.e. a little yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, fatigue, fluid in the abdomen, superficial vessels of the abdomen are examples of symptoms of liver damage. You should always contact a doctor for further investigation if these levels are elevated.