Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

What is causing my elevated liver tests?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 5 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • April 29, 2008
  • 00:28 PM

I have a similar situation... I went into the doctor with vague symptoms-- tired all the time, very foggy-headed, loss of appetite/weight loss, mild nausea, abdominal pain (mostly top right side under my ribs but sometimes on the left side too and sometimes in my back in the same place)... I had swollen lymph nodes in my groin but not in my neck or armpits, and have also been having night sweats where I wake up soaked which has never happened before. I requested a blood workup because I thought I might be anemic or something and everything came back normal except my liver function tests. The LFTs were all normal, just the enzymes were raised--AST was 529 (normal is 10-30 u/l) and ALT was 161 (normal is 6-40 u/l). The doc ruled out Hepatitis A, B, and C with tests (even though I've been vaccinated against A and B), and mono (which I've had before) and I'm not a big drinker (I was a "binge drinker" if you will, in college though-- I'm 23 and in grad school now with no time for more than an occasional glass of wine). I'm also not obese/diabetic/have high cholesterol, etc. that could cause "fatty liver"--I'm actually a few pounds underweight and have really low blood pressure (110/40). I've traveled extensively to 30+ countries and have had every vaccination possible so it could be something weird I guess but I haven't been out of the country since early January and only really started feeling badly in the last few weeks. My doc ordered a CT scan of my abdomen/pelvis (with contrast) which I should get the results back from today, but I talked to the radiologist when I was there and he showed me some of the pictures and said nothing was jumping out at him (no tumors or anything). I am on birth control which I know can rarely be associated with liver issues but I believe it causes cysts or benign tumors which I don't have. I'm also on adderall which could explain the weight loss (maybe?) but I've been on it for awhile and never had negative side effects before. I do take acetaminophen frequently for headaches (related to studying so much!, I'm getting my Masters in Public Health, by the way--its frustrating that I'm learning how to keep other people healthy and don't even know why I'M not healthy...) and I do, admittedly take more than the recommended dose (usually 4 at a time, but no more than twice a day and certainly not every day...I may be small but I have a bizarrely high drug tolerance). Anyway, thats my story...I've tried researching it all online and in my textbooks but can't seem to come up with anything else?? Anyone have any similar issues? :confused:

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5 Replies:

  • I would recommend trying a different pain killer for about a month and see if your levels come down. Frequent acetaminophen use (especially at higher than recommended dosages) can cause serious liver damage, and if you are needing to take an excessive amount in order for it to work then it is not working properly. In addition, if you ever have alcohol on the same day that you are taking the acetaminophen it dramatically increases your risk for liver damage. I would recommend speaking to your physician about a good alternative. Also, just general advice, if you are studying excessively make sure you are staying hydrated. Long hours and caffeine (if you drinking large quantities or taking pills) can quickly dehydrate you which can in turn cause headaches. I hope you feel better soon and best of luck to you for the remainder of your Masters!
    GD2005 61 Replies Flag this Response
  • Sorry you are going through this. I'd definitely lay off the tylenol and maybe even consider stopping the pill until they figure out what is causing this. The pill can cause both the AST and ALT enzymes to go up, so maybe you can discuss going off the pill with your doctor and see if the levels go back to normal. Tylenol can make AST go up.Have you been checked for celiac disease yet? It can sometimes cause elevated liver enzymes, although i don't know if it would be AST and ALT only.How about some of the autoimmune liver diseases- such as primary biliary cirrhosis or autoimmune hepatitis? Have they done a biopsy yet? Have they checked for Wilson's disease and hemochromatosis? How about pancreatitis, myositis, mononucleosis, or hepatic ischemia?There are probably a host of other things this could be. It really sounds like you need to be seen by a hepatologist or at least a gastroenterologist. You do not want to lose your liver while they are trying to figure out your elevated enzymes. I don't mean to scare you, but if there is a process that is damaging your liver, it needs to be halted, if possible. Once the liver becomes cirrhotic or scarred, it cannot function and this would be quite serious.I hope you get answers soon.Best Wishes.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Since you have traveled to 30+ countries ,you might want to be tested for parasites..or just have your doctor order some anti-parasite medictions to see if you feel better...
    tx3amigos 7 Replies Flag this Response
  • You and I seem to be identical. Our weight, age, habits, medications, test results and symptoms. It's oddly reassuring. I am 23, female, slightly underweight, educated, take adderall, am on the pill, regularly take advil, and recently had high AST and ALT test results. Although I seem to drink more, but just on the weekends. My Liver Function Test, AST was 118 and ALT was 113. Everything else was normal. I have intermittent abdominal cramping under my ribs and often feel tightness in this area. I might have IBS, considering I have regular diarrhea. When I take adderall, I notice the tightness more and I think it attributes to the diarrhea. Also, my temperature seems to rise when I am on adderall. About twice a year I have severe cramping under my ribs that is only relieved when I am leaning over or in the fetal position. This started when I was about 10 years old and I remember my parents considering taking me to the hospital but the pain was always relieved shortly after some pepto, so they though it could be something I ate or a bad case of gas. I am now starting to wonder if this has something to do with my liver. I read online somewhere to feel under your right rib cage to see if you can feel a thin portrusion, your liver. Obviously I am not a doctor but I think I can feel it, so is my liver enlarged? These are all common symptoms that I ignored as normal but now with these recent test results, AST & ALT, I am nervous. I had two doctors tell me to get it re-checked and I am. I am so nervous. Should I just go to the ER? What happened with you? Hope to hear back.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 19, 2008
    • 08:50 PM
    • 0
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  • Wow! I'm having the same experience. I am a healthy and super active 27 year old female without any previous health issues. I've been having night sweats so bad lately without any underlying common denominator, so I thought I'd get checked out. Only thing wrong is my liver tests- way elevated. I've stopped drinking the past three weeks (I don't drink much anyway) because I'm in a competition at work... so that's not causing it. I haven't started any new meds in the past four months since these started (my birth control pill has been the same for four years and my diet and exercise has stayed the same). I've also traveled to 30+ countries and lived abroad about three times for long periods. The doctor did a TB test as well, but it doesn't look like that. I'm at a loss and so is my doctor. If anyone has other ideas or finds out what is causing their health issues, would love to know! Going to check out the lyme sites. Thanks for sharing!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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