What Causes Elevated Liver Enzymes?

Written by ellen swanson topness | 13/05/2017

The enzymes measured in the liver are called alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST). An elevation of either of these does not necessarily signify a liver disease. The enzymes can also be elevated in other conditions. Results of higher-than-normal enzymes are just the beginning of a diagnosis in which the whole clinical picture will be evaluated.

Some causes of elevated liver enzymes

There are many reasons an individual may have elevated liver enzymes. Excessive alcohol consumption, high triglyceride counts, diabetes or infections are some of the possible causes. Some of the other reasons for elevated liver enzymes are obesity, gallstones, excessive use of herbal supplements or some sort of liver disease. Therefore, it is clear that a high enzyme lab result is not a definitive answer, but the start of narrowing down to the correct diagnosis.


The tests themselves are not absolute in their feedback. For instance, a high elevated level of enzymes may be telling of hepatitis A. This disease is usually one from which individuals recover. However, the more insidious and incurable hepatitis C may have a low elevated level.


It is clear that an elevated enzyme count should be taken seriously. However, do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed and panicked. As is evidenced above, there are many conditions that can cause this. Research, be informed and always ask questions.

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