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Normal count for liver: Fatty Liver Disease (NASH) Symptoms, Treatment, Causes & Diagnosis

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12 Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking

Alcohol and Health Risks

Alcohol consumption can cause numerous diseases. Many people know that heavy drinking can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and is a leading cause of automobile accidents. But did you know chronic drinking can also lead to cancer and heart attack? Read on to find out consequences of heavy drinking.

1. Anemia

Excessive alcohol use can affect the hematologic system, which is made up of the blood, spleen, bone marrow, and the liver. It can cause your red blood cell count to be abnormally low, which is a condition called anemia. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness.

2. Cancer

Chronic alcohol drinking can increase your risk for developing cancer. The body converts the alcohol you drink into acetaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen (substance that causes cancer). Cancers often found in heavy drinkers include those of the mouth, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), esophagus, liver, breast, and colorectal region. Many heavy drinkers also smoke, which further increases cancer risk.

3. Cardiovascular Disease

Heavy drinking and binge drinking can cause heart disease or stroke. It can raise the levels of fats in the blood (triglycerides), lead to high blood pressure, and stroke. It can also cause cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle), and the heart-rhythm abnormalities atrial and ventricular fibrillation.

4. Cirrhosis

Alcohol causes inflammation of the liver, and chronic drinking can cause scarring of liver tissue that leads to cirrhosis, a potentially fatal condition in which the liver is so scarred it can no longer function. The risk increases the longer you have been drinking. Not all heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis, though it seems to run in families, and women get it more often than men.

5. Dementia

Heavy drinking can affect the brain and can lead to memory loss and some symptoms of dementia. Alcohol-related brain damage can mirror some symptoms of dementia, like poor judgment and difficulty in decision-making. Heavy alcohol drinking over a long period of time may result in Korsakoff’s syndrome, a condition in which people may suffer short-term memory loss. In addition, heavy drinking may result in nutritional deficiencies that can also lead to symptoms of dementia.

6. Depression

Alcohol abuse and depression are often associated. In some cases, people are depressed and turn to alcohol to self-medicate. However, studies show that many people who drink heavily develop depression.

7. Seizures

Heavy or binge drinking, or alcohol withdrawal, can lead to a form of epilepsy called status epilepticus, or an acute, prolonged epileptic seizure, which is a life-threatening condition. Excessive alcohol use can also trigger epilepsy in some people who did not have the condition before they started drinking. Some epilepsy medications may make you more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, and alcohol may interfere with some medications used to treat epilepsy.

8. Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints. It can be very painful. Alcohol intake may increase the risk of developing gout, particularly in men, and beer seems to cause the condition more than other types of alcohol. If you already have gout, drinking alcohol may worsen your symptoms.

9. High Blood Pressure

Alcohol can cause high blood pressure (hypertension). The more alcohol a person drinks, the greater their risk for developing high blood pressure. Hypertension can become chronic, and can lead to other medical conditions including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

10. Infectious Diseases

Excessive alcohol use can weaken the immune system, and make it easier for you to get infections. Chronic drinkers are more likely to contract diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). STDs are a concern because heavy drinkers are also more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Even binge drinking on one day can affect your body’s ability to fight off infection for up to 24 hours.

11. Nerve Damage

Alcoholic neuropathy is a form of nerve damage caused by heavy drinking. The combination of alcohol being toxic to nerve cells, combined with the poor nutrition that often accompanies alcohol abuse is believed to cause this condition. Symptoms include numbness, tingling and pain, muscle weakness usually in the extremities, loss of bladder or bowel control, impotence, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, or constipation.

12. Pancreatitis

Heavy drinking can lead to pancreatitis, which is a dangerous condition involving inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms may include acute abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Chronic pancreatitis from chronic drinking may lead to malabsorption of nutrients and diabetes.

Summary

Chronic heavy alcohol use can have many damaging effects on the body. Talk to your doctor about ways to cut down on your drinking or stop drinking entirely to reduce your chances of developing health complications from drinking.

Liver function tests (LFT) | Health Navigator NZ

A liver function test (LFT) is a blood test that measures the levels of several substances (enzymes and proteins) excreted by your liver. Levels that are higher or lower than normal can indicate liver problems.


Key points

  1. The liver function test (LFT) is also called a hepatic function panel (hepatic refers to the liver).
  2. The liver function test is not done routinely, but is requested to establish the presence of damage or inflammation in your liver. 
  3. To perform a liver function test, a blood sample is drawn from a vein in your arm and collected in a tube. This tube is sent to the laboratory for analysis.

What is a liver function test (LFT)?

The liver function test measures the levels of different substances (enzymes and proteins) excreted by your liver, such as:

  • alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
  • alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 
  • gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)
  • bilirubin 
  • albumin
  • total protein. 

When is a liver function test done?

A liver function test is not done routinely but is requested in certain situations, to establish the presence of damage or inflammation in the liver. Your doctor may ask for this test to be done to: 

  • screen for potential liver problems or infections affecting your liver, such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C
  • help in the diagnosis of other conditions such as gallstones
  • monitor the progression and severity of liver disease and to determine how well a treatment is working  
  • monitor side effects if you are taking prescription or non-prescription medicines that can affect liver functioning.   

How do I prepare for a liver function test?

For the most part, you don’t need to do anything before having this test. It can be done at any time of the day. Some medicines may affect the test so tell your doctor about all prescription and non-prescription medicines (such as herbal products) you take. 

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is taken by a needle placed in a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight for a few seconds. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a small brief sting or pinch. The blood sample is collected in a tube, which is sent to the laboratory for analysis.

What do my results mean?

Interpreting liver function test results is not always easy and is best done in consultation with your healthcare team. They will know what is normal for you and how these results relate to your clinical picture. Often, if there is a mild abnormality, all that may be needed is to repeat the test in a month or two’s time as many changes can be temporary and return to normal.

On its own, a liver function test cannot usually provide a definitive diagnosis of a condition, but it can provide important clues about possible problems with your liver

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) – when your liver is damaged, ALT is released into your bloodstream and levels increase.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – higher than normal levels may indicate liver damage or disease, such as a blocked bile duct, or certain bone diseases.
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) – an increase in AST levels may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Bilirubin – bilirubin is produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Raised levels of bilirubin (called jaundice) may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Albumin and total protein – lower than normal levels of albumin and total protein may indicate liver damage or disease.
  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) – higher than normal levels may indicate liver or bile duct damage.

Learn more

The following is further reading that gives you more information on the full blood count test. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Blood test safety information Labtests, NZ
Liver function tests Patient Info, UK
Lab tests online  Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists


Higher Level of SGPT Risks | Causes | Symptoms

What is Higher Level of SGPT?

SGPT exists predominantly in the liver and leaks into the bloodstream when produced in excess. The SGPT normal range is about 7 to 56 units per liter of blood serum. Thus, very high level of SGPT in the blood can be an indication of damage or problems related to the liver. Certain diseases like cirrhosis and hepatitis raise the blood serum SGPT levels, so do specific medications including statin used to lower cholesterol.

What Causes High SGPT?

There are many conditions and diseases, which can result in increased SGPT level.

  • Drinking Alcohol
  • Acute viral hepatitis A and B
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Obesity
  • Hepatitis C
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
  • Dermatomyositis

Symptoms of High SGPT Level:

The high SGPT level symptoms include –

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Leg swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive bleeding or bruising
  • Jaundice

If you find these warning signs, you need to immediately consult your doctor and undergo SGPT blood test which will help you know whether your SGPT level is normal.

To reduce the SGPT level, diet modifications are needed. Your daily diet should consist of at least one fruit containing vitamin D. Alternatively, you can simply stand out in the sunlight for at least 20 minutes per day to get vitamin D. Couple it with some exercises that will help you stay healthy.

It is always recommended to have a regular whole body checkup with your doctor. The signs and symptoms of high SGPT level may not be noticeable immediately and hence, it is always better to have a preventive approach rather than taking action after the high-level findings. You can get the SGPT blood test done in a renowned hospital where it is a part of preventive health checkups.

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