What is the liver?
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It has many vital functions such as the production of transport proteins, metabolism of important nutrients like iron, cholesterol and glucose, and blood clotting among others. It also synthesizes bile which is important for fat metabolism.
What is liver disease?
Liver disease can be genetic or can be caused by various factors such as alcohol abuse, viral infections and even obesity. Liver disease results in jaundice, cirrhosis or scarring on the liver and if left untreated can cause liver failure, which is a fatal condition.
Symptoms of liver disease
Some of the symptoms of liver disease are-
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
- Abdomen ache and abdominal swelling
- Itchy skin
- Dark coloured urine
- Feeling tired all the time
- Bloody or tar-coloured stools
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in legs and ankle
Why is a liver profile important?
The modern lifestyle puts various kinds of stresses on the liver. Be it alcohol consumption or eating fatty foods, our livers are working extra-hard in these modern times just as we are. It thus becomes important to keep track of our liver health from time to time and then take necessary to maintain or improve its health. In order to assess the health of the liver, a liver profile is conducted.
What happens in a liver profile?
The health of the liver is assessed using a series of blood tests. The major tests are-
Bilirubin- This is a byproduct of the break down of our red blood cells. The bilirubin is excreted from the liver and this test basically measures how efficiently the liver is able to clear out bilirubin from the blood.
Albumin- Albumin is a very important protein and it is the main component of blood plasma. Albumin test determines how well the liver can make albumin for the body.
Alkaline Phosphatase(ALP)- ALP is an enzyme synthesized in the liver and excreted in the bile. This test will check the function of the liver as well as the biliary system.
Transaminase tests- These are a series of tests that are conducted to check the overall enzyme production of the liver and how well your liver responds to damage or disease.
Serum Globulin- Globulins are a group of proteins that have many important functions like blood clotting and fighting infections among others. These tests measure how well the liver is functioning.
Why should you take a liver profile?
If you feel any of these symptoms, then you should definitely get tested. Liver disease if ignored can become fatal and result in liver failure. Once you get tested, the doctor will help you treat your condition and will advise you on how to manage your liver health better.