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How to Find Out if Your Liver is Healthy

More Americans have been turning to alcohol to get them through their coronavirus concerns. Studies show a massive spike in alcohol consumption. But all those cheers are cause for fears when it comes to our health. Doctors are fighting back with some sobering commentary of their own.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, every year, around 88,000 people in the United States die from alcohol-related causes. This makes it the third leading preventable cause of death.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to or exacerbate mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

It can also have a long-term impact on our physical health by weakening our immune system. This makes us more susceptible to infectious diseases such as COVID-19, increases our risk of several types of cancer, and damages vital organs such as our liver, heart, and pancreas.

The liver is especially susceptible to alcohol-related damage. The liver acts like a filter to break down and protect our bodies from harmful substances in the blood. It produces proteins, enzymes, and hormones, which the body uses to ward off infections. It converts vitamins, nutrients, and medicines into substances our bodies can use. It is responsible for cleaning our blood, producing bile for digestion, and storing glycogen for energy.

When alcohol is introduced into our system, the liver starts working overtime. The liver can only oxidize about one drink per hour. Even then, the liver only processes 90 percent of the consumed alcohol. The rest gets expelled through urine, sweat, and breathing. When someone has too much to drink, the liver can’t keep up. The unprocessed alcohol circulates into the bloodstream and starts impacting the brain, which is how people become intoxicated.

Continued and chronic alcohol abuse starts to destroy the liver and can lead to several conditions, including cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic hepatitis, or even liver cancer.

Common Symptoms of Liver Trouble

  • Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in legs and ankles
  • Dark urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Discolored stool
  • Bruising easily
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale, bloody, or tar-colored stool

Determine Your Liver Health

One of the first steps in detecting liver damage is with a simple blood test to determine the level of certain enzymes in the blood. Any Lab Test Now offers the Hepatic Function Panel, which allows you an easy way to find out how well your liver is working.

The liver panel consists of seven tests in one that measure the following:

  • Total protein (TP) – Measures the total amount of two classes of proteins in the blood — albumin and globulin.
  • Albumin – Measures the main protein made by the liver; the level can be affected by liver and kidney function and by decreased production or increased loss.
  • Bilirubin – This brownish-yellow substance is found in bile. It is produced when the liver breaks down old red blood cells. When the liver is damaged by a high intake of alcohol, it swells — blocking the removal of the bilirubin.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – This enzyme is found in many tissues, with the highest concentrations in the liver, biliary tract, and bones. The ALP test may be performed to assess liver functioning and to detect liver lesions that may cause biliary obstruction, such as tumors or abscesses.
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) – This test measures the level of aspartate transaminase (an enzyme that is found in the liver, kidneys, pancreas, heart, skeletal muscle, and red blood cells) that is released into the bloodstream after liver or heart problems.
  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) – This test measures the level of alanine aminotransferase (an enzyme found predominantly in the liver) that is released into the bloodstream after acute liver cell damage. This test may be performed to assess liver function, and/or to evaluate treatment of acute liver disease, such as hepatitis.

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including the Hepatic Function panel to determine your liver health.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 185+ stores are sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.