Liver Function Tests

Liver Function Tests (LFTs)

A liver function test (LFT) measure the enzymes present in the liver, which can only be released into a person’s bloodstream when the liver is damaged. LFT can be used to diagnose some liver diseases such as cirrhosis (liver-scaring), hepatitis, and alcohol-related liver disease.

Cirrhosis

The scarring of the liver is known as cirrhosis. It is caused by continuous, long-term liver damage resulting from alcohol abuse, hepatitis C or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (excess build-up of fat in the liver). The scarred tissues formed by the liver damage gradually replaces healthy tissues harming the functionality of the liver. If the damage caused by any of the conditions mentioned above becomes significant, it stops all liver functions and leads to outright liver failure.

However, this does not happen suddenly. It takes years for the liver to get to this stage. During the early stages of cirrhosis, one may experience loss of appetite, itchy skin, and nausea.

The late stage of cirrhosis presents all the symptoms of the early stage in addition to

  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting blood
  • The build-up of fluid in the leg and abdomen

If you encounter any of the symptoms above, do not hesitate to contact your GP for a liver function test.

Hepatitis

There are different types of hepatitis; some are harmless while others can cause a lot of damage to the liver. The most common types of harmful hepatitis include Hepatitis B and C.

Hepatitis B: It is transmitted by blood contact with an infected person especially from an infected mother to her child. In some rare cases, hepatitis B can be spread through injecting drugs or unprotected sex.

It is easy for most adults to fight off the hepatitis B virus within a few months but those infected as children if left untreated can develop into a long-term condition known as chronic hepatitis B characterised by liver cancer and cirrhosis. 

Hepatitis C: This is one of the most common types of hepatitis in the UK and it is transmitted through blood contact. Statistics from over the years show that 1 in 4 persons can fight off the virus while in the others, the virus leads to chronic hepatitis C which can affect the body for years and lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C related symptoms can go unnoticed for years, but if you notice any of the following. you can perform a liver function test

  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • General weakness
  • Dark urine
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice
  • High body temperature (above 38 degrees)
  • Abdominal pain

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD)

Alcohol-related liver disease does not present any symptom until the condition gets to its late stage. In the late stages of ARLD, the liver becomes severely damaged, and this impairs the function of the liver.

The process of filtering alcohol in the liver causes the liver cells to die off. These cells can regenerate on their own. However, long-term abuse of alcohol reduces the ability of the liver cell to regenerate resulting in severe and permanent liver damage.

Symptoms of ARLD include

  • Loss of weight
  • Constant feeling of being sick
  • Drowsiness
  • Jaundice
  • Weight loss
  • Fluid accumulation in the legs and stomach

Our liver function test requires a consultation fee of £65 in addition to the test fee. During your consultation, our experienced GP will meet with youto give you a detailed explanation of your test result. You can also perform your liver function blood test as part of our general health screen.

You can get this test done at the cost of £62.40 and expect your result in 4 – 6 hours.

The parameters measured in LFT include

  • Total protein
  • ALT
  • AST
  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • Bilirubin
  • Gamma-GT
  • Alkaline phosphatase

If you experience any of the liver disease associated symptoms above and you need to do a liver function test, you can call us today on 020 70434318to book an appointment or visit our London GP Clinic.