The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that liver disease ranks ninth in causes of death, and 4.5 million adults in the United States have a liver disease diagnosis, leading to approximately 56000 deaths per year.
The maintenance of a healthy hepatic system is important for overall health, with some causes of liver disease being preventable. For example, obesity leads to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease leading to liver cirrhosis, or alcohol consumption that damages the liver.
The liver is known to be the largest solid organ in the human body, and is important for over 500 important roles to support body metabolism, immunity, digestion, detoxification, vitamin storage, and more. Some of the critical roles of the liver include:
Hepatic tests focus on indicators of liver functioning such as the enzymes that reflect liver damage, with additional tests measuring protein levels and blood clotting abilities.
Hepatic tests usually analyze blood samples for enzymes or proteins that reflect liver functioning. A variety of testing panels using blood and urine are available through Rupa Health. Some example of tests include:
Along with hepatic testing, a physical examination, a health history, and identifying symptoms can be helpful in attaining a diagnosis. Symptoms that can reflect possible liver damage include itching, fatigue, and weight loss. Patients can present with confusion (due to ammonia), large abdomens with spider veins, yellowing to the eyes and skin (due to bilirubin), bleeding/poor clotting, and retention of fluid.
Based on the outcome of the patient assessment and hepatic testing, additional diagnostic and laboratory tests might be necessary such as ultrasound, CT, and MRI imaging. Additionally, if obesity is a concern, tests such as inflammation, gut dysfunction, and metabolic status can be beneficial.
Proactive treatment plans for liver health are important to protect the liver from damage and maintain body wellness. Assessing hepatic function is helpful in identifying potential liver damage early and implementing a treatment plan to reverse damage where possible.
Some treatment plans can include: