Liver enzymes are proteins within the liver cells that help that organ carry out many of its metabolic functions. An elevation of the liver enzymes indicates damage or inflammation of the liver. When this happens, a person may experience many symptoms of liver disease, including diarrhea. A person having diarrhea and elevation of the liver enzymes should seek medical attention to avoid serious health complications.
About Liver Enzymes
The liver is located in the upper right part of your abdomen, just below the ribs. According to MayoClinic.com, damage or inflammation of the liver cells can lead to a release of these enzymes into the bloodstream, where they can be measured with the help of blood tests. The most commonly tested liver enzymes are ALT, or alanine aminotransferase; and AST, or aspartate aminotransferase.
Causes of Elevated Liver Enzymes
MayoClinic.com lists several causes of elevation of the liver enzymes. These include drinking alcohol; infection with a variety of viruses, including the hepatitis viruses and the Epstein-Barr virus that causes mononucleosis; and autoimmune hepatitis, a condition in which the body attacks the liver cells thinking it is a foreign tissue. Chronic conditions that cause long-term elevation of the liver enzymes include liver cancer; liver cirrhosis or scarring of the organ; hemochromatosis, which causes too much iron to be stored in the body; and dermatomyositis, an inflammatory condition that causes muscle weakness and a particular rash.
Diarrhea is one of the many symptoms that a person with liver enzyme elevation can experience during the course of their illness. According to Lab Tests Online, other common symptoms of liver disease are nausea and vomiting; itching or pruritus; jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin that results form the accumulation of bilirubin; weight loss and loss of appetite; dark urine and light stools.
The treatment of the elevated liver enzymes depends on its cause. Hepatitis by the Epstein-Barr virus and some of the hepatitis virus usually resolves over time. Hepatitis B and C can cause chronic hepatitis and a more permanent elevation of the liver enzymes. Other chronic conditions can also have long-term elevation of the liver enzymes, with fluctuations in the levels mirroring the severity of the disease. Diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, so maintaining an appropriate fluid balance is important. Severe dehydration may be treated with intravenous fluids