The liver is an important organ that performs a variety of essential functions in our body. One of the key tests to assess liver health is the Liver Function Test (LFT). This article will provide a comprehensive overview of LFT, its significance, interpretation of results, and normal range.
What is LFT?
LFT is a blood test that measures the levels of various enzymes, proteins, and other substances in the blood, which indicate the proper functioning of the liver. It is a routine test that is performed by healthcare providers as part of a general health check-up or when a patient experiences symptoms associated with liver disease.
Why is LFT important?
LFT is an essential test to assess liver function and diagnose liver diseases, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. It helps identify any damage to the liver or abnormalities in its functioning.
What does LFT include?
LFT includes several parameters, including:
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT): an enzyme found in liver cells that is released into the bloodstream when liver cells are damaged.
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): an enzyme found in liver, heart, and muscle cells that is released into the bloodstream when liver cells are damaged.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): an enzyme found in liver and bone cells that is elevated in conditions like liver disease, bone disease, and certain cancers.
- Total bilirubin (TBIL): a substance produced by the liver as it breaks down old red blood cells. Elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood can indicate liver damage or disease.
- Albumin: a protein produced by the liver that helps transport various substances in the blood. Decreased levels of albumin may indicate liver damage or disease.
What is the normal range for LFT?
The normal range for LFT varies depending on the laboratory and the method of testing. Here is a table showing the normal range of LFT parameters in a typical laboratory setting:
|LFT Parameter||Normal Range|
|Total bilirubin||0.3-1.9 mg/dL|
|Conjugated bilirubin||0-0.3 mg/dL|
|Unconjugated bilirubin||0.2-1.2 mg/dL|
It is essential to note that the normal range can vary depending on factors such as age, sex, and overall health.
FAQs about LFT
Is fasting necessary before LFT?
It is not mandatory to fast before LFT. However, it is recommended to avoid fatty and heavy meals before the test as it may affect the results.
How is LFT performed?
LFT is performed by drawing blood from a vein in your arm. The procedure is similar to any other blood test.
What factors can affect LFT results?
Several factors, such as medications, alcohol consumption, and underlying health conditions, can affect LFT results. It is essential to inform your healthcare provider about any medications or supplements you are taking before the test.