Your liver is one of the largest organs in your body. It acts to process and remove toxins from drugs and substances that may harm your body. Your liver makes blood clotting factors, proteins, and enzymes, helps maintain hormone balances, and stores vitamins and minerals. Bile is transported through ducts directly or via the gall bladder to the small intestine to help you digest fats.
Your liver can be subject to a variety of diseases and infections causing acute (short term) or chronic (long term) damage, inflammation, scarring, bile duct obstructions, clotting abnormalities, and liver dysfunction. A significant amount of liver damage may take place before symptoms such as jaundice, dark urine, light-coloured stools, nausea, fatigue, diarrhoea, and unexplained weight loss or gain are noticed. Early diagnosis is essential in order to minimise damage and your preserve liver function.
In the first instance your consultant may order a blood test called a liver investigation to see how your liver is functioning. You may also be referred for an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI or liver biopsy.
Treatment of liver disease depends on the type and severity. Your consultant will discuss your treatment options with you.
Related tests and scans
Waiting for blood tests and results can be an anxious time. If you’ve been referred by a GP for a test and don’t want to worry or wait, Nuffield Health can help. Our national network of fully accredited laboratories delivers fast, reliable results at a competitive price – wherever you are in the UK.