The liver is an organ located beneath the ribs on the right side of the body. It aids digestion and elimination of certain toxic substances in the bloodstream.
Enzymes living in the liver's cells act as catalysts in the liver's breakdown of toxins in the blood. If something, such as certain viruses, causes injury to the liver cells, they spill their enzymes over into the bloodstream. The spilled enzymes are detectable in blood tests, appearing as high liver enzyme levels. This may be temporary or may indicate serious problems needing treatment.
1. What Do Elevated Liver Enzyme Levels Mean?
High liver enzyme levels are relatively common and usually detected in reports from routine blood work. Often temporary, elevated liver enzyme levels may rebalance themselves over two to four weeks if the underlying cause is resolved.2’Elevated Liver Enzymes.’ American Family Physician. 2011 Nov 1. www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1101/p1010.html Typically, a primary care provider repeats the blood tests after a month to see if the liver enzyme levels have returned to normal.
When liver enzyme levels are elevated, it likely means the liver has sustained damage due to factors, such as infection or toxic substances. While high liver enzyme levels sometimes indicate a serious problem that needs attention, milder levels are more common.1’Elevated Liver Enzymes.’ Mayo Clinic. www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/elevated-liver-enzymes/basics/definition/sym-20050830