A high liver count is caused by an abnormal level of one or more liver enzymes in the blood, but slightly elevated levels are usually not indicative of a serious health issue, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, long-term or extremely high liver enzyme elevations may indicate liver inflammation or disease.
A liver test panel is considered routine and is usually part of an annual physical or new patient examination. Identifying the enzyme helps pinpoint the problem and direct the course of action. The two most important liver enzyme levels tested during a liver panel are aspartate aminotransferaseand and alanine aminotransferase, explains WedMD. High values of both AST and ALT together are the top sign of serious liver inflammation or damage. High levels of bilirubin, a waste product made by the liver during the breakdown of red blood cells, and other enzymes are caused by a bile flow problem. Low levels of the essential protein albumin are found in people with severe chronic liver disease.
The most common causes for high liver levels are less serious health issues like obesity, alcohol consumption, prescription medication side effects and the use of over-the-counter pain medications, notes the Mayo Clinic. Very high liver enzyme levels indicate more serious chronic conditions and diseases including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cirrhosis, jaundice, liver cancer and chronic liver disease.