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What are the symptoms of elevated liver enzymes?

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Quick Answer

Symptoms of elevated liver enzymes include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, and swelling in the legs, feet and ankles, according to Chemocare. Individuals may experience a tendency to bleed easier, and stool may appear light in color. Symptoms of elevated liver enzymes are not always evident and often go undetected.

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Full Answer

Liver enzymes are proteins that assist the liver with metabolizing nutrients and filtering harmful substances, according to Mayo Clinic. They also help build blood clotting proteins. If liver cells are damaged, enzymes leak out into the blood stream, and blood tests can detect them.

Liver enzymes tend to elevate when there is an infection of the liver or a blockage, such as gallstones or a tumor, according to Chemocare. Other common causes of liver damage include chemotherapy, the use of Tylenol and some cholesterol medications, such as Lipitor and Zocor. Elevated enzyme levels are not necessarily an indication of liver damage and may be signs of damage to the heart or bones. In some cases elevated levels are only temporary.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a common cause of elevated liver enzymes, as are excessive alcohol consumption and alcoholic hepatitis, according to Mayo Clinic. Other causes of high liver enzymes include hepatitis A, B and C, obesity, Celiac disease, hypothyroidism and dermatomyositis.

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