1 AnswerRealAge answeredLiver function tests are blood tests that help your doctor determine how well your liver is functioning and whether there are any signs of injury, infection or disease in your liver. Your doctor may order liver function tests -- also called a "liver panel" -- as part of a routine checkup or if you have signs of a potential liver problem or are at risk for liver disease. If you are being treated for liver disease, your doctor may order liver function tests to determine how well that treatment is working.
Some liver function tests check the levels of certain enzymes that are essential to chemical reactions that help the liver function normally. These tests include:
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). These enzymes are involved in processing proteins. Too high levels of ALT and/or AST can signal that the liver is injured or damaged.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP). ALP levels that are higher than normal can be a sign of liver diseases,blocked bile ducts, or other conditions.
- Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is an enzyme found in large amounts in your liver, bile ducts and pancreas. High levels of GGT in the blood may signal liver or bile duct damage.
- Bilirubin tests. Bilirubin is a byproduct of the normal breakdown of red blood cells. If your liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak out of your liver into your blood, causing your skin and eyes to appear yellow (jaundice).
- Globulin and albumin are proteins made in the liver. Low levels of these proteins may indicate liver damage.
- An alpha-1 antitrypsin test measures the amount of a protein that helps protect the liver (and the lungs) from damage. A deficiency in alpha-1 antitrypsin may signal a rare form of cirrhosis. An alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can be inherited.
- Prothrombin time (PT) test. Prothrombin is a protein made in your liver that helps with normal blood clotting. A prothrombin time test measures how long it takes for the liquid portion of your blood (plasma) to clot. A high prothrombin time can be a sign of liver damage.
1 AnswerDr. Michael Roizen, MD , Internal Medicine, answeredDensitometry is a method of measuring bone density so you can find out how strong your bones are. It figures out how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones, so it’s a good way to see if you are developing or have osteoporosis. The dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan is the most common test. The test will give you a T score, and this number lets you know if your bone density is normal (T score of -1 or higher), mild loss/osteopenia (T score between -1 and -2.5), moderate loss/osteoporosis (T score less than -2.5), or severe deficiency. A T score less than -2.5 puts a person at high risk for fracture.
A MUGA (multiple gate acquisition) test involves no pre-procedure. The test takes approximately one hour. A radioactive isotope will be injected into your vein. You will be required to lie flat on your back.
Direct (or conjugated) bilirubin dissolves in water and is made by the liver from indirect bilirubin. Total bilirubin and direct bilirubin levels can be measured directly in the blood. In the newborn the level of total bilirubin varies with the infant’s age and whether the infant is a premature or full-term infant. Direct bilirubin levels are normally very low, but when the direct bilirubin level is more than 2.0 mg/dL it is considered pathological and needs further investigation.
1 AnswerRealAge answered
A fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures your fasting blood sugar and is the preferred test for diagnosing diabetes. You'll be asked to fast overnight and give a blood sample in the morning, before you've eaten anything.
What your results mean:
- 80-99 mg/dL: Normal
- (IFG) 100-125 mg/dL: Prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose
- >126 mg/dL: Diabetes
1 AnswerDr. Howard E. Lewine, MD , Hospitalist, answeredA blood test for total iron binding capacity is usually done along with a test to check serum iron level. Doctors usually order these two tests in people that have a low red blood cell count. This is also called anemia.
The combination of the two tests can help determine if Iron deficiency is the cause of the anemia. People with iron deficiency anemia have a low serum iron level and a high total iron binding capacity.
The two tests also are used to find out if a person might have an iron overload. This is called hemochromatosis. People with too much iron have a slightly low total iron binding capacity and a high serum iron level.
Sometimes both the total iron binding capacity and serum iron levels are below normal. When this occurs, other causes of the low iron binding capacity need to be considered.
A protein called transferrin, which is made in the liver, does most iron binding in the blood. If the level of this protein falls, the person will have a low total iron binding capacity.
Low levels of transferrin (and therefore a low total iron binding capacity) can be caused by:
- Persistent active diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers
1 AnswerDr. Paul M. Ehrlich, MD , Allergy & Immunology, answeredA qualitative test of the immune system, the lymphocyte proliferation assay (or mitogen assay) is usually done in highly specialized research labs. It involves removing a patient's white blood cells from a blood sample and exposing them to certain substances known as mitogens. If the cells are working normally, mitogen exposure will cause them to divide or proliferate to a degree that can be compared to a standard. In certain immune diseases there is a lack of ability to respond properly, thus leading to infections.
1 AnswerDr. Anthony L. Komaroff, MD , Internal Medicine, answeredFactor 5 is a protein that is important for forming blood clots.
People usually have two copies of the Factor 5 gene. Sometimes the Factor 5 gene has a change in it called "Factor 5 Leiden." This change causes the protein to be overactive. An overactive Factor 5 protein increases the risk of forming blood clots too easily.
A person with one normal Factor 5 gene and one Factor 5 Leiden gene (we call this combination "heterozygous") has only a slight increased risk of a blood clot. A person with two Factor 5 Leiden genes (this combo is called "homozygous") has a much higher risk of clotting.
You asked about a person who has both genes for Factor 5 Leiden. In most cases, the mother and father of this person will each have one normal gene and one Factor 5 Leiden gene.
The brothers or sisters of this person might have:
- Two copies of the Factor 5 Leiden gene (a 25% chance)
- One copy like the parents (a 50% chance)
- Two normal Factor 5 genes (a 25% chance)
This gives you some idea of the risks to family members. But the only way to know if each person has a risk is for them to be tested for the Factor 5 Leiden gene. Having one copy of the Factor 5 Leiden gene is not a big risk, so it makes sense to test only the people who are at risk of having two copies. To help you understand who should get tested, talk to a medical professional who is familiar with genetic testing, such as a genetic counselor or medical geneticist.