The liver produces over 200 different types of enzymes that help in metabolism and digestion. Elevated liver enzymes may indicate damage to liver cells or inflammation. When there is injury to the liver, the enzymes will actually increase and show up in blood tests. Some of the common liver enzymes that are tested include ALT and AST.
There are many different causes of elevated liver enzymes. Prescription medications including cholesterol medicines, diabetes medicines, birth control pills, or antibiotics are known to cause elevations.
Medical conditions including hepatitis A, B, or C can also cause this. Alcohol abuse and being overweight are also risk factors for elevated liver enzymes. Other infections, heart failure, liver cancer, gallbladder disease, or pancreatitis are also linked with elevated liver enzymes.
Some people may have jaundice or yellowish discoloration in their skin or eyes. Other patients may have fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
Elevated liver enzymes must be followed over several weeks or months. Your doctor will advise the specific treatment based on the cause. Some patients may need to be hospitalized or consult with a liver specialist to determine the correct treatment.
Always talk with your doctor about your concerns, abnormal lab results, prescription medications you are taking, and any over-the-counter medicines.