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Old 10-07-2013, 09:53 AM   #1
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To those who've had elevated liver enzymes

My 56-year old husband is going through this now; his last blood test showed that his liver enzymes keep climbing since August, last test Sept 30 shows ALT 91, AST 42, GGTP 240, ALP 126. He has an appointment with the doctor tomorrow to discuss what to do. He is overweight, 260 lbs. at 6' tall (but has lost around 20 lbs and keeps losing on a lower carb diet), takes 2000 mg Metformin for metabolic syndrome (his last fasting glucose was 96 and his A1c is 5.4). I'm very worried because his enzyme levels have gotten higher the last 3 blood tests. Seems like something may be actively going on but he says he feels fine. Can anyone give me any insight into this? For those who have had elevated liver enzymes, can you share what your levels were/are and your experience? Thank you.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:34 AM   #2
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I believe metformin can cause elevated liver enzymes. He should discuss this with his doctor. Maybe a change in medication would help, or maybe his doctor would agree to allow him to try and control blood sugar/insulin/metabolic syndrome with diet alone at this point.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:50 AM   #3
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Does he have other health issues? Alcohol, hepatitis, has he been tested for hepatitis?

If he has a cardiologist, the cardiologist must be informed right away.

From what I have been told by my late husband's doctors, the levels do not necessarily indicate anything, it is the trend. A liver can look fine on testing; it is the trend that is telling.

Last edited by Key Tones; 10-07-2013 at 11:53 AM..
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Key Tones View Post
Does he have other health issues? Alcohol, hepatitis, has he been tested for hepatitis?

If he has a cardiologist, the cardiologist must be informed right away.

From what I have been told by my late husband's doctors, the levels do not necessarily indicate anything, it is the trend. A liver can look fine on testing; it is the trend that is telling.
He only used to drink a couple of glasses of wine on the weekends, but hasn't had one drop since August when his first blood test showed elevated ALT and GGT. Never had...or has been tested for....hepatitis. I would like his doctor to do that now. He does not have a cardiologist....how does this affect the heart? He had a heart scan about 3 years ago and his calcium score was "0".

I didn't know about that Metformin could affect his liver. By the way he was on Lipitor for over a year and recently also on Zetia. Doctor stopped the Lipitor 2 weeks ago but LFT's were higher after retesting. Still on Zetia.

I appreciate your replies, but would really like to hear about other peoples' experiences with this issue.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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My liver enzymes shot up and up due to some meds I was taking. I couldn't stop the meds for another month or so (a combo of 2 antibiotics and steroids for a bad infection), so I supported my liver with a regime of milk thistle. That seemed to help it level off after a while. Of course, I didn't drink during that time.

I had the labs done weekly during that time, as I also had surgery, but here's the set of results that are easily accessible in my phone.

ALT/SGPT: 277 (range 7-60)
AST/SGOT: 90 (9-65)

I'm not diabetic, though my blood glucose and AC1 numbers were also abnormally high for me (though not out of range) during that same period. Again, meds.

For me, the milk thistle helped until I could come off of that particular drug combination, but I'm not sure if it would help your husband. I'm also not sure if it could hurt, so you may want to check at the appointment (my PCP agreed I should do the milk thistle, and I talked with her about dosing). Good luck!
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:38 PM   #6
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Thank you Ntombi, I do appreciate your input. I wish you good luck.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie51 View Post
He only used to drink a couple of glasses of wine on the weekends, but hasn't had one drop since August when his first blood test showed elevated ALT and GGT. Never had...or has been tested for....hepatitis. I would like his doctor to do that now. He does not have a cardiologist....how does this affect the heart? He had a heart scan about 3 years ago and his calcium score was "0".

I didn't know about that Metformin could affect his liver. By the way he was on Lipitor for over a year and recently also on Zetia. Doctor stopped the Lipitor 2 weeks ago but LFT's were higher after retesting. Still on Zetia.

I appreciate your replies, but would really like to hear about other peoples' experiences with this issue.
Heart failure impacts the liver (and the kidneys). I don't know if it works the other way with the liver (but kidneys I know for sure: heart failure causes kidney failure; kidney failure causes heart failure).

Seems odd they haven't tested for hepatitis. That was the first thing they did when the liver was in question.

I remember they were confused with the results, however. He had a bunch of vaccinations due to international travel for work, so they weren't sure what the hepatitis results meant. I think the vaccinations caused confusing blood work results.

Be sure to check out the doctor if he is referred to a specialist. My husband's heart surgeon said the liver docs (hepatologists) are notorious for missing liver problems, which turned out to be true with my husband.

Seriously, if you have some establishment that rates doctors in your area, be sure to check them out. I had checked out the surgeons and the cardiologists, but I had not checked out the hepatologist.
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Last edited by Key Tones; 10-07-2013 at 05:04 PM..
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:55 AM   #8
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Thank you for your advice. He has doctor's appointment today and we'll see what he wants to do next.
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:11 PM   #9
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How was his appointment?
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Old 10-21-2013, 06:35 AM   #10
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Hi Ntombi,
The doctor took more blood and ordered an ultrasound. After almost a week of not hearing anything back, we went online to LabCorp's website to check the blood results and were relieved to see that, while three enzyme were still elevated, they had come down somewhat and one came down to normal. So, we were cautiously optimistic. But more days went by and we didn't hear from the doctor about the ultrasound so my husband went to his office and requested a copy of his results so they gave them to him. Again, we were very relieved to see that it said his liver, gallbladder, ducts, spleen, and visual parts of the pancreas were "grossly unremarkable". I don't know why the doctor never notified us. So, my husband already had an appointment for a blood test and physical in mid-Nov, so we'll just wait for then to discuss all this with his doctor. Meanwhile, he's still off the Lipitor and hasn't had any alcohol since mid-August. Thank you for checking in. How are you doing with your LFT's?
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Old 10-21-2013, 10:27 AM   #11
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I am no expert and have not suffered liver problems, but I used to take this regularly to help maintain liver health:

Livercare (Liv.52)

There are some great reviews on these pills for those that have had elevated liver counts. Should probably check with the DR to make sure it is OK to take this supplement.
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GingerAnn View Post
I am no expert and have not suffered liver problems, but I used to take this regularly to help maintain liver health:

Livercare (Liv.52)

There are some great reviews on these pills for those that have had elevated liver counts. Should probably check with the DR to make sure it is OK to take this supplement.
Thank you, GingerAnn. I'll check it out and tell my husband about it. He doesn't like me to accompany him to most of his doctor's appointments, so he makes a list of my concerns/suggestions/questions to bring with him.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:32 PM   #13
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Once I got off of that particular combination of antibiotics and steroids, mine went back down to normal, thanks.

I'm glad his seem to be going in the right direction. I hate when you're waiting to hear and the doctor seems to have just forgotten about you.
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Old 10-24-2013, 08:28 AM   #14
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Glad you're back to normal, Ntombi. I like that word
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