You’re probably aware of the causes of high cholesterol or high blood sugar, but what about high liver enzymes? Chances are you probably don’t think about all the vital tasks the liver completes for your body, and these enzymes are a window into how well it is functioning.
We’ll review what your liver enzymes say about your health, how to fix them if they are too high, and the warning signs of liver damage.
At Conway Medical Center, we’ve been safeguarding the health of the Conway and Myrtle Beach area for a century, constantly seeking innovative treatments to serve our community better. We invite you to learn about our scope of services and if you’re concerned about your liver function, our leading gastroenterologists will work with you to examine, diagnose, and treat your condition.
Examining the Role of the Liver Enzymes
Liver enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the liver. They are vital for helping your body produce energy, utilize proteins for energy, and detoxify your system. Alanine transaminase (ALT) and Aspartate transaminase (AST) are the most commonly measured enzymes in liver function tests. Elevated levels of these enzymes indicate liver cell damage or inflammation.
What Causes High Liver Enzymes?
There are several possible causes. The most common conditions include:
- Alcohol abuse: Those who drink excessively can face liver inflammation and damage.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: This is an accumulation of fat in the liver cells, and it’s often associated with Type 2 diabetes and being overweight.
- Hepatitis: This liver inflammation is often caused by viral infections.
- Medications: Certain medications can cause elevated liver enzymes. These include statins (that are frequently used to lower cholesterol) and acetaminophen (which is found in Tylenol.)
- Celiac disease
- Hemochromatosis, a disorder where too much iron builds up in the body.
- Autoimmune liver diseases
What Is The Most Common Cause of High Liver Enzymes?
The most common cause is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This condition is often seen in those who are obese and those who have diabetes.
What Does It Mean if Liver Enzymes Are High?
This could be indicative of issues such as:
Can You Fix High Enzymes in the Liver?
Yes, it’s possible, typically by adopting some lifestyle changes and working closely with your physician in Horry County and Myrtle Beach.
These lifestyle changes include losing weight, reducing alcohol intake, and managing medical conditions. In addition, regular exercise and following a healthy diet also help lower liver enzymes and manage diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. You should avoid overusing medications such as Tylenol, which can damage the liver.
What Are the Four Warning Signs of a Damaged Liver?
- Jaundice, the yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Itchy skin
- Dark-colored urine
Conway Medical Center Will Help You Guard Your Liver Health
Our gastroenterologists treat all aspects of your digestive system, including your liver. Our state-of-the-art facilities, including advanced diagnostic tools like 64-slice CT scanners and high-definition endoscopy, ensure accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of various conditions. With nearly a century of experience, our team of more than 200 physicians across 30 specialties is dedicated to providing the leading medical care in the region.
We want to ensure you have a healthy liver. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, or if you’re at high risk for liver disease, contact your primary care provider who can provide a referral to one of our specialists.