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What Causes Elevated Liver Enzymes?

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Hi I'm Dr. Peter Kramer with Wrightsville Beach Family Medicine in Wilmington, North Carolina. What causes liver, elevated liver enzymes? A lot of people want to know. Liver enzymes can be detected as elevated from a simple blood test from your doctor's office. There may or may not be any signs or symptoms of elevated liver enzymes. Several reasons, the most common reason to elevate your liver enzymes are usually drugs and that consider alcohol in the category of drugs. Tylenol or acetaminophen is a really common medicine that's found in multiple preparations whether it's headache powders or if it's in cough and cold remedies, things like that. You can ingest too much Tylenol which is on the order of for an average adult would be about 4,000 milligrams of Tylenol in a 24 hour period. That could elevate your liver enzymes. Some people's livers are very sensitive to different kinds of chemicals that can irritate the liver where in other folks the liver might not be irritated by those. So we as physicians we monitor the liver function very closely when we use for example cholesterol medicines. So the drugs and the alcohol would be the top two components of why you'd have elevated liver enzymes. Drugs would be number one, alcohol number two, alcohol is readily available, socially acceptable but it can cause, wreak havoc with the liver as the alcohol then poisons the liver cells and they break open and die off. Third thing could be viral infections, hepatitis A, B and C can give you certain kinds of elevated liver enzymes and give you trouble with that. And so simple blood test can help determine what's wrong with your liver and if it's an infection or something like that. So that's a little bit about elevated liver enzymes.

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