If you tell your healthcare provider that you are experiencing signs and symptoms of liver disease such as abdominal pain, yellow skin, yellowing of the white part of your eyes, pale-colored stool, or appetite loss, they may recommend laboratory testing. In addition to laboratory testing such as bloodwork, diagnostic imaging tests may be recommended to confirm your diagnosis. Here are some lab tests your doctor may order to help rule out or confirm a liver disease diagnosis.
Blood Chemistry Profile
Your chemistry profiles can reveal the presence of various medical disorders including liver disease. The chemistry profile blood test includes a bilirubin test. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that is found in your bile that helps with the digestion process. If your bilirubin test is elevated, it may mean that your liver, gallbladder, or pancreas are not functioning properly.
The chemistry profile test also includes liver enzyme tests such as alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and albumin. If these levels are elevated, your doctor may recommend further testing such as an ultrasound of your liver.
It is important to note, that while elevated liver enzymes may indicate liver disease, they can also be caused by certain medications and heavy alcohol use. Once the offending medications have been discontinued and alcohol intake has decreased, your liver enzymes may decrease.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Another laboratory testing diagnostic to rule out liver disease is the complete blood count, also known as a CBC. This blood test includes blood components such as platelets, which are responsible for proper blood clotting. If your CBC reveals a low platelet count, also called thrombocytopenia, liver disease may be to blame.
Thrombocytopenia in people with liver disease is sometimes caused by portal hypertension. This condition refers to hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, in the portal vein of the liver. A low red blood cell count may also be an indicator of liver disease, however, it is often the result of iron deficiency anemia. Once you have increased your iron intake through the foods you eat or with iron supplements, your red blood cell count may go back to normal.
If you develop any of the above signs and symptoms of liver disease, talk to your doctor about the above laboratory tests. These are simple and very common blood tests that can reveal a variety of health conditions. When diagnosed and treated while still in its early stages, people with liver disease may have a very favorable prognosis.
Contact a clinic that offers laboratory testing to learn more.