What is a Liver Function Test?

A liver function test is a set of blood tests that are used to assess the health of your liver. They measure the levels of liver enzymes, proteins and bilirubin in your blood. Proper functioning of the liver is important for multiple reasons, as the organ helps with many critical processes in the body. This includes filtering harmful substances out of blood coming from the digestive tract, producing bile to assist with the metabolizing of food and storing vitamins and minerals.

What Is a Liver Function Test Used For?

If your doctor orders this type of assessment, you may wonder, “What is a liver function test used for?”. Also called a liver function panel test, this tool can be helpful both in the diagnosis and monitoring of conditions that affect the liver. Specifically, liver function test purposes include:

  • Diagnosing hepatitis and other liver diseases
  • Determining the effectiveness of liver disease treatment
  • Assessing liver damage from diseases like cirrhosis
  • Monitoring the side effects produced by some medications

Liver function tests measure the levels of certain key proteins and enzymes in your blood. Levels that are higher or lower than normal may point to a liver problem.

Symptoms that can indicate a liver function test is necessary include:

  • Jaundice, which produces a yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Light-colored stool
  • Dark urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

Which Blood Tests Show Liver Function?

Blood tests are used for diagnosing and monitoring many medical conditions. Which blood test shows liver function? Some of the most commonly used liver function tests include the alanine transaminase (ALT) test, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test, albumin test, and bilirubin test. Using the results of these liver function tests, your doctor can determine whether additional testing is needed or the type of treatment to prescribe.

Liver Function Testing from Baptist Health

Learn more about imaging and diagnostic procedures with Baptist Health. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with our doctors, please contact the Baptist Health Imaging & Diagnostics team.

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