The liver is one of the primary organs of the human body. It is responsible for a whole range of different functions and is extremely vital for the life of an individual. A person with a completely failed liver will not be able to live. The liver plays a role in the digestive process by producing some substances like bile which help in the chemical breakdown of food. It also plays a role in detoxification by removing some toxic substances from the blood stream. This is why the liver gets affected by regular alcohol consumption. The liver is responsible for synthesizing proteins. It is also used to produce hormones, helps destroy old red blood cells and is important in the metabolism process. There are many more functions that are not listed here.
The varied functions of the liver make it a complicated organ which is why it is impossible to replicate liver function. The varied functions also mean that a liver function test is actually a series of tests to check the quantities of various products that are secreted from the liver. Such a test is known as a liver panel test. Without testing these various functions, it is impossible to completely judge the health of the liver. While one part of the liver may function normally or near normal, another part may have failed or may have its function suppressed.
A liver test is usually ordered when the liver is suspected to be failing. This occurs when there are symptoms of liver failure. Jaundice is the main symptom of liver failure. A typical liver panel test uses many different markers to judge the state of the liver. These include Alanine aminotransferase, Aspartate aminotransferase, Bilirubin, Albumin, Total Protein, and Alkaline Phosphatase. The tests for each of these components may vary depending on the chemical analysis of each component.
The liver function test results would be best explained to you by your doctor. A variation in each of the different components tested means a different thing. Variations may be due to ill health, fat accumulation in the liver that is inhibiting functioning, an infection in the liver, or a more serious condition such as liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Further testing may be necessary after a blood test is complete in order to complete a diagnosis. Many liver problems, particularly infections, can be cured through treatment along with lifestyle changes. It is important to make sure that all the recommendations of your doctor are followed because barring an expensive and dangerous liver transfer procedure, there is no way a person with liver failure can survive.
Submitted by N on May 27, 2010 at 05:20