Elevated Liver Enzymes

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Elevated liver enzymes can be caused by such things as too much alcohol consumption, hepatitis, cirrhosis, diabetes or obesity. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about elevated liver enzymes in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

The liver releases several substances when it is injured. Two of these are enzymes called alanine transaminase, or ALT, and aspartate transaminase, or AST.

There are many causes of mildly elevated ALT and AST levels. About three out of 10 people will have normal levels again if blood tests are repeated in two to four weeks. Medical conditions such as hepatitis, or swelling of the liver, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the metabolic syndrome, and alcoholic liver disease are the more common causes. Certain medicines can also cause elevated liver enzymes.

People with mild elevations usually do not have any symptoms.

Treatment depends on what is causing your liver enzymes to be elevated. If your doctor thinks you have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or the metabolic syndrome, you will need to watch your diet, stop drinking alcohol, lose weight and control your cholesterol.

If your liver enzymes are still elevated after six months, your doctor may do more blood tests or an ultrasound.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.