Liver Cirrhosis is a Global Health Burden
#LoveYourLiver this January. This month, we are taking a closer look at Liver Cirrhosis.
Liver cirrhosis occurs when the healthy tissue of the liver is replaced with scar tissue (fibrosis) due to long-term liver damage. Liver cirrhosis can result in liver failure which can be fatal.
Liver complications such as liver disease and cirrhosis can be detrimental if it is not treated or monitored. Liver disease is the only major cause of death still increasing year-on-year. Globally, deaths due to liver cirrhosis have increased from 676,000 in 1980 to over 1 million in 2010 (NCBI, 2014). Cirrhosis and other chronic liver diseases have increased by 12.4% from 2006-2016 and was the cause of 1,256,900 deaths in 2016 (Global Burden of Disease, 2016).
There are a few factors that increase the risk of liver cirrhosis. The three main factors are heavy alcohol consumption, an undiagnosed hepatitis infection, particularly hepatitis C, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (a more severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) due to obesity.
There are numerous symptoms associated with liver cirrhosis. Some of the more severe symptoms include:
- Jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- Personality changes, confusion, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, or hallucinations
- A tendency to bleed or bruise easily
- In women, abnormal periods
- In men, enlarged breasts, a swollen scrotum (the loose sac of skin that contains the testicles) or shrunken testicles
- Stomach pain – swollen or bloated stomach
Liver cirrhosis cannot be cured, but the aim of treatment is to manage the symptoms and complications, and to stop the condition getting worse.
#LoveYourLiver and prevent or reduce the symptoms of liver cirrhosis through: moderating alcohol consumption, not sharing needles to inject drugs, using a condom during sex, taking medications as prescribed, and maintaining a healthy weight.
The early stages of liver cirrhosis usually does not present any symptoms and is often first detected using routine blood tests. Liver cirrhosis can be diagnosed and monitored through the following routine blood tests:
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
ALT is one of the enzymes within the aminotransferases group and are among the most sensitive liver enzymes. The normal concentration levels of ALT in the blood are low, however, when the liver is damaged, such as liver cirrhosis, the levels of ALT increase. During the diagnosis of liver cirrhosis, the root cause of the damage can be established, such as disease, drug or injury. ALT is commonly measured alongside AST as part of the hepatic panel.
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
AST is an enzyme found throughout the body. Elevated concentration levels of AST in the blood is directly correlated to the severity of the tissue damage. AST also allows for the root cause of the damage to be diagnosed. Excessive levels are indicative of damage due to acetaminophen overdose or acute viral hepatitis. Moderately high levels are indicative of alcohol abuse. Slightly high levels are indicative of cirrhosis.
AST is commonly measured alongside ALT as part of the hepatic panel, although ALT levels are higher in most types of liver damage.
Albumin is a special protein made in the liver and provides the body with the proteins it requires to grow and repair tissue. The body requires a proper balance of albumin to prevent fluid from seeping out of blood vessels. Decreased concentrations levels of this protein in the blood is an indicator of liver cirrhosis.
Randox supply a range of third party clinical diagnostic hepatic reagents to aid in the diagnosis and managing the complications of liver cirrhosis. All reagents are available for use on a range of third party biochemistry analysers. Randox offer the following hepatic reagents to diagnose liver cirrhosis:
Randox also offer the following high performance and unique tests to diagnose liver cirrhosis:
Why choose Randox reagents?
- Randox offers the largest range of chemistries
- Liquid ready-to-use reagents available
- Automated applications for a wide range of clinical analysers
- Excellent correlation to reference methods
- Wide measuring ranges
- Flexible pack sizes
- Official accreditation to national and international standards including UKAS, ISO 13485:2003, and FDA.
- Easy fit reagents
- Easy read reagents
To request an application for your specific analyser, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on liver function or to view our hepatic panel, visit https://www.randox.com/liverfunction/