Elevated liver enzymes may indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Inflamed or injured liver cells leak higher than normal amounts of certain chemicals, including liver enzymes, into the bloodstream, which can result in elevated liver enzymes on blood tests.
The specific elevated liver enzymes most commonly found are:
Alanine transaminase (ALT)
Aspartate transaminase (AST)
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT)
Symptoms. People with elevated liver enzymes may not have any symptoms in the case of NASH, early alcoholic liver disease or chronic hepatitis B or C. If acute liver disease causes elevated liver enzymes, symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, upper right quadrant abdominal pain and tenderness, loss of sex drive, mental changes or itching.
Signs. A medical practitioner observes signs of a disease process. Signs that accompany elevated liver enzymes depend on the disease, but can include jaundice, a yellowish tinge to the skin and whites of the eyes, dark colored urine, clay-colored stools, fluid accumulation in the abdomen called ascites, intestinal bleeding, low-grade fever or weight loss. The liver and spleen may feel larger than normal.
When to see a doctor. If a blood test reveals you have elevated liver enzymes, ask your doctor about what your test results might mean. Your doctor may suggest you undergo other tests and procedures to determine what’s causing your elevated liver enzymes.