Elevated liver enzymes: What does it mean?

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Elevated liver enzymes: What does it mean?

Question

What causes elevated liver enzymes?

No name given
California

Answer

A laboratory report of elevated liver enzymes is common and doesn't indicate a specific disease. However, elevated liver enzymes may be due to liver disease even if you have no symptoms. To determine the underlying cause of elevated liver enzymes, your doctor may recommend further testing.

Common causes of elevated liver enzymes include:

  • Side effect of medication, such as certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cholesterol medications, antibiotics or anti-seizure medications
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Infection, such as viral hepatitis and mononucleosis
  • Autoimmune disorders of the liver and bile ducts, such as autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis or primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Metabolic liver disease, such as hemochromatosis or Wilson's disease
  • Excessive use of certain herbal supplements, such as kava, comfrey, pennyroyal or skullcap
  • Gallstones
  • Tumors of the liver, pancreas or bile ducts

Treatment of elevated liver enzymes depends on its cause. It is important to tell your doctor about any nutritional or herbal supplements you're taking.

Last Updated: 03/26/2007
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