The home liver function test is a method used to look for signs of liver disease and damage. How does this work? Liver function home test kits check the liver's health and assess for possible liver problems. The liver is an essential component of the body's proper functioning, and it affects the most basic of our actions either directly or indirectly. Storage, cleaning, and synthesis are three of its most critical tasks. A healthy liver aids digestion, regulates healing and blood clotting keeps hormones in check, and eliminates toxins and impurities from the system.
Some home tests are performed to determine how well the liver is performing its primary functions of producing proteins and cleaning the blood of bilirubin, a waste product. Other home liver test kits look for enzymes released by diseased or damaged liver cells. Proteins are required for a healthy life, and enzymes are cellular proteins that aid in processing essential reactions in the body, so they are in abundance in the body, which makes it easier to monitor and identify irregularities.
What are the types of liver function tests?
At home liver function tests don't necessarily include all the possible liver tests. There are approximately 200 varieties of liver function tests, each examining a facet of liver function or damage. These tests, when taken alone, usually cannot provide an overview of the liver damage condition, so they are mostly done together. Some of the popular liver function tests include:
- Alanine Transaminase (ALT): ALT is a liver enzyme that aids in protein metabolization. ALT is released into the bloodstream when the liver is damaged, causing a sudden rise in its amount.
- Albumin test: The liver produces albumin as its primary protein. By measuring the amount of albumin in the system, you can conclude the overall liver health with low albumin levels indicating your liver isn't functioning correctly.
- Bilirubin test: Bilirubin is the processed liver wastes. The test can determine the bilirubin level in your system and assess your liver health. Increased amounts of the substances indicate that your liver is not functioning correctly. The enzyme is a yellow fluid produced by the breakdown of red blood cells in the body. Bilirubin can leak from your liver into your bloodstream if your liver is compromised, causing jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). It can also appear in the urine, giving it a dark appearance.
- Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT): GGT is an enzyme that converts glutathione peptides and amino acids to glutamine. The enzyme GGT is found in the blood, and an increase in this number could indicate damage to the bile duct or liver.
- L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD): LD is an enzyme that dehydrates lactate. The enzyme LD is among the several enzymes found in the liver. Its presence in high levels can indicate a damaged liver, but it can also arise from other ailments.
- Aspartate transaminase (AST): AST is an enzyme that metabolizes alanine, an amino acid. AST, like ALT, is found in small quantities in the system, but its levels rise when the muscles or liver are damaged.
- Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP): The liver, bile ducts, and bones all contain the enzyme ALP. Its elevation above normal levels can indicate liver disease, bile duct blockage, or bone disease.
Symptoms of liver problems
Symptoms vary from person to person, but there are general indications that can point to a problem with the liver. They include:
- Tiredness: A person with liver problems will constantly feel tired. Most metabolic materials are prepared in the liver, and its metabolic activities are hampered when damaged. A healthy liver filters, destroys, and excretes waste compounds in the blood. Many toxins must be refined somewhere within the body, and the liver, which is the ideal option for this being out of commission, causes a lack of strength and fatigue.
- Sleep deprivation: Symptoms of liver problems usually come as insomnia. Cirrhosis hampers the nervous system processes causing drowsiness throughout the day and insomnia at night.
- Lower libido: This symptom is most common in cirrhosis. Poor liver functions affects the regulation of hormones in the body, and some people will find that their sex drive drops drastically.
- Pain underneath the right rib.
- Constant stomach cramps.
- a significant increase in body odor
- Severe skin pigmentation
- feces and urine discoloration
- Nausea and bitter taste in the mouth
- Jaundice or a change in the mucous membranes and skin color.
- Increased bilirubin levels in the blood cause this process to occur.
Which diseases can be detected with the help of liver function tests?
It is possible to do a liver function test at home. In order to get a general idea of how healthy someone's liver is, at-home liver function tests can check for liver enzymes, proteins, bilirubin, cholesterol, and lipids. However, they may not be as comprehensive as a full liver panel ordered by a healthcare expert. If any suspicious results are received, a patient should follow up with their doctor. A doctor would probably prescribe additional tests and assess the patient's overall health.
Why is the liver function test done?
There are various reasons why liver function tests are performed. Individuals perform these tests as part of a routine check-up to ensure their liver is healthy or if they experience any of the symptoms stated above.
Things to do in preparation for the test
You usually don't need to alter your daily activities for liver function tests. Your doctor will tell you how to prepare for the test beforehand. Certain medicines and foods can affect the levels of proteins and enzymes in the blood, so you may be advised not to eat for a timeframe before the test. Remember to stay hydrated and wear comfortable clothes that make taking the samples easier.