Liver enzymes, from the traditional liver enzymes test, are proteins produced in the liver. These enzymes are produced by the liver and are used to perform different functions inside the organ.
Liver enzymes do not belong to the bloodstream, but several medical conditions can cause elevated liver enzymes in the blood. It is usually when liver cells die and spill their contents into the blood.
In this article, we will explore some of these diseases and offer guidance on the usual treatment when your liver enzymes are elevated.
What diseases cause elevated liver enzymes?
Elevated liver enzymes, also known as transaminitis, are a sign of a wide range of diseases, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and drug toxicity. The most common cause of elevated liver enzymes is hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that a virus, alcohol intake, or autoimmune conditions can cause.
Other causes of elevated liver enzymes include biliary cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, acute liver failure, drug-related liver toxicity, and certain inherited diseases. Hepatitis C is the most common form of chronic hepatitis in the United States and is caused by a virus transmitted through contact with infected blood. In some cases, drug-related liver toxicity can lead to elevated liver enzymes. This may occur as a result of taking medications in higher doses than prescribed or taking multiple drugs at the same time. Certain inherited diseases, such as Wilson’s disease and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, can also cause elevated liver enzymes.
1. Alcoholic hepatitis
A) Causes of alcoholic hepatitis
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are several types of hepatitis depending on the causes and the onset of the disease—for example, acute and chronic, alcoholic or infectious hepatitis.
Alcoholic Hepatitis is a form of liver inflammation caused by excessive drinking. It is one of the most severe forms of alcoholic liver disease and can cause permanent damage to the liver if left untreated.
As the name implies, the cause of alcoholic hepatitis is chronic alcohol ingestion, especially in heavy doses. Alcohol is a toxin for the liver. This substance creates free radicals, which react against the cell wall and causes the breakdown of cell membranes. As a result, these cells become damaged and die off. The inflammation that follows is called acute alcoholic hepatitis. If this condition is not treated properly, it can lead to cirrhosis.