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What causes an elevated liver enzyme count?

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Quick Answer

Many conditions and diseases can contribute to elevated liver enzyme counts, including taking certain medications, drinking alcohol, obesity and heart failure, according to Mayo Clinic. Having one of the three forms of hepatitis may also contribute to high liver enzyme counts.

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Full Answer

Other causes of elevated liver enzymes are celiac disease, Epstein-Barr virus, heart attack, hypothyroidism and pancreatitis, claims Mayo Clinic. If liver enzymes are high, a doctor often has the patient undergo more blood work to determine the cause of the elevation, especially if there are no other noticeable symptoms of disease.

Sometimes elevated liver enzymes can indicate damage or inflammation to the liver's cells, explains Mayo Clinic. When liver cells become injured or inflamed, they may start leaking larger amounts of certain chemicals, such as liver enzymes, into the blood stream. This results in higher liver enzymes on blood tests. The most common elevated liver enzymes that show up on tests are alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase.

Most people do not know that their liver enzymes are high until having routine blood work, states Mayo Clinic. Liver enzyme levels usually only rise temporarily. Most of the time, high liver enzymes do not indicate any serious or chronic liver condition or disease.

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