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What causes high liver counts?

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Quick Answer

Causes for high liver enzyme counts include alcohol consumption, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, acetaminophen, hepatitis and heart failure, according to Mayo Clinic. Taking drugs used to manage cholesterol levels, scarring of the liver and obesity can also elevate liver enzyme levels.

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Full Answer

Liver enzyme values can be significantly higher than normal in healthy patients because they may have recently drunk excessive amounts of alcohol or may be taking certain medications, states MedicineNet. Aspirin, ibuprofen and some antibiotics and anti-depressants can increase aminotransferase levels. Muscle diseases and mushroom poisoning can cause liver toxicity. More uncommon causes of high liver enzyme levels include Wilson's disease, Crohn's disease and hemachromatosis, an inherited medical condition in which the liver retains excessive amounts of iron.

Over 90 percent of high transaminase levels are caused by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, asserts the American Academy of Family Physicians. A measurement of liver enzyme levels indicates the health and function of the liver because a damaged liver excretes higher than normal amounts of liver enzymes, notes Mayo Clinic. Liver enzyme levels are measured by taking blood tests. The doctor performs a physical examination and goes over the patient's medical history to determine if the elevated enzyme levels are caused by external factors. If a common cause is not found, a hepatitis test may be conducted followed by a liver biopsy, states the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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