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"Should I be concerned if I have elevated liver function levels?"
The last few times my doctor has checked he said that my liver function levels are high. Now he wants me to see a specialist. I'm worried about what it could be. What could I have?
Liver function tests or levels are certain proteins that are produced by the liver cells. They are periodically released into the blood stream, so they can be measured by simply checking a basic blood test. If the liver function tests in the blood are elevated, this can sometimes be a sign of liver damage. It sounds like your primary care doctor is worried enough about this possibility that they want you to have additional workup. Most likely, they are sending you to see a gastroenterologist, and I highly recommend that you keep this appointment. The list of conditions that can cause elevated liver function tests is quite large, and the gastroenterologist will begin by taking a detailed family and personal medical history to try to get to the bottom of things. Some of the more common causes that they will be looking at will include hepatitis (inflammation of the liver usually from one of several viral infections), damage from various drugs or medications, alcohol use, and something called fatty liver, which tends to occur in people who are significantly overweight. In addition to ordering some additional bloodwork, the gastroenterologist might also want an radiologic study of the liver, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan.
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