Liver is one of the most important organs of the body, whenit comes to metabolizing. It is responsible for the removal of all toxins fromthe body, including pollutants, medications, alcohol and all other. It also regulatesthe level of glucose in the blood, and metabolizes fat and cholesterol from thefood we took.
The liver produces two enzymes, which are ALT (AlanineTransaminase) and AST (Aspartate Transaminase). When there is a problem withthe liver cells (usually inflammation or some form of damage), they start toproduce more liver enzymes than normal. That condition is often referred to astransaminitis or elevated transaminases, since ALT levels are usually higherthan AST level in liver diseases. The exception from this rule is alcoholicliver disease, because patients suffering from this condition experience higherAST than ALT levels. The elevation of liver enzymes is in most cases atransient symptom, and doesn’t point to any chronic or major liver condition.
What Causes Elevation of Liver Enzymes
In most cases elevated liver enzymes are caused by problemsin the functioning of the liver. Sometimes, it might be some other medicalcondition in the body, such as diabetes, gallstones or autoimmune disorders. Thereare medications whose side effects may include elevation of liver enzymes, andpeople abusing alcohol are also found to have similar problems.
What Are the Symptoms and Treatment?
Patients experiencing elevation of AST or ALT are mostlikely to see some yellowing of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes in themouth, as the signs of jaundice. This condition is often connected totiredness, abdominal pains, weakness and changed color of urine. Blockage ofthe bile duct, caused by the elevation of liver enzymes usually lead to lightcolored stools.
Itching is also one of the common symptoms, frequent inpeople with elevated liver enzymes. Toxins start to buildup in the skin and theblood and provoke this type of sensation.
Swelling of the feet, ankles and legs very often indicatehigh elevation of AST and ALT.
First of all the condition must be properly diagnosed, andliver function tests are very helpful. After that, your doctor might recommendsome further testing to identify the exact cause of your condition. Ultrasound,X-rays and CT scan are some of the most frequently used tests.
The treatment depends on the cause of the problem. Peopleabusing alcohol are advised to reduce or stop drinking, and if the problem wascaused by some medications, the drug(s) is changed with another.