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18 year old with serious liver problems
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18 year old with serious liver problems

My name is Elizabeth and I reside in NJ. I'm 18 and not overweight. I have great health and an amazing immune system. I rarely take any kind of medication including advil. I don't take vitamins or supplements. I don't drink very often maybe once a month and when I do it is not a huge quanitity because I am a lightweight.

It has been six months since I found out that my liver enzymes ( ALT & AST) are ten times the amount they should be. I had only found out because I donated blood and it was rejected because my enzymes were not low enough to be accepted. my ALT was 497 and my AST was 256.

Since then I have been to two doctors who specialize in Gastroenterology. They have run tests on me and I have had a sonogram that came back negative. I do not have hepatitis or any signs of hereditary liver disease. I have been checked for diabetes and other serious illnesses but they cannot seem to find any useful information concerning my liver and why it is acting up. I have a biopsy scheduled for the 11th but I can't seem to stop worrying about what this could be; and if theres anything that the biopsy might miss since it seems like my diganosis does not want to happen anytime soon. I am very desperate for some sort of answers. please help if you can.
Tags: alty
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Have you had any abdominal pain?
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no i have not. i've had pain in that area but i always related it to my menstral cycle. it hasn't been constant. maybe twice or 3 times every 2 weeks
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I asked about the pain because I have had elevated liver enzymes in the 200s and 700s.  However, I have also tested normal.  I have been dealing with upper right abdominal pain that can come as often as twice a week but can also not come for months at a time.  After numerous tests - ct, mri, endoscopy, they now suspect I have a dysfunction in my liver and/or my pancreatic duct and I meet with a new specialist in two weeks to discuss an ERCP w/mamometry.  As I have learned over the last year and a half of dealing with this, elevated liver enzymes can mean so many different things.  Have your levels tested high after you initially were notified after donating blood?
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yes. they've been high for 6 months now. havent left the 400's or 200's. I had an ultrasound and that came back fine. i'm having one last blood test done tomorrow morning and if they are still not normal im getting a biopsy on the 11th. but i can't help but wonder what it could mean. there are a lot of things it could be but my options are running out.
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I wish I could provide more insight for you.  All I have learned relates to occasional high levels.  I would really appreciate if you keep me informed of your progress in finding the cause of the high test results.  I know all too well what it feels like as you cross possible conditions off the list of might bes and come closer and closer to being left with only things you prayed it wouldn't be.  The fact that you have no other systems has me very perplexed.
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Elizabeth, sorry to hear you are going through this. Maybe when you get a minute, you can read through what Dr. Palmer has to say about high enzymes. It's not always related to liver (high enzymes)- at times it might be indicative of something else. I know you said you aren't taking vitamins. Have you grown any herbs in your yard this summer? Because sometimes herbs can have an effect on enzymes too. Dr. Palmer is not that far from you - she is in Long Island or somewhere around there. You'll see when you read her site below. She is a very well known hepatologist and if you don't get any answers from the doctor you are seeing, I would maybe consider giving her a call. Good luck.



http://www.liverdisease.com/liverenzymes_hepatitis.html

excerpt:

"Because AST is found in many other organs besides the liver, including the kidneys, the muscles, and the heart, having a high level of AST does not always (but often does) indicate that there is a liver problem. For example, even vigorous exercise may elevate AST levels in the body. On the other hand, because ALT is found primarily in the liver, high levels of ALT almost always indicate that there’s a problem with the liver.  (Conversely, a normal ALT level does not necessarily mean that the liver is definitely normal- but, more about this later.)

Despite what one might expect, high levels of transaminases in the blood don’t always reveal just how badly the liver is inflamed or damaged. This is an extremely important point to keep in mind. The normal ranges for AST and ALT are around 0 to 40 IU/L and 0 to 45 IU/L respectively. (IU/L stands for international units per liter and is the most commonly accepted way to measure these particular enzymes.) But someone who has an ALT level of 50 IU/L is not necessarily in better condition than someone with an ALT level of 250 IU/L! This is because these blood tests measure inflammation and damage to the liver at an isolated point in time. For instance, if the liver is inflamed on the day that blood was drawn—let’s say if a patient consumes an alcoholic drink a few hours prior to blood being drawn—the levels of the transaminases may be much higher than if the alcohol had not been consumed. Following the same reasoning, if the liver was damaged years before—by excessive alcohol use—the results of a blood test done today may be normal, but a damaged liver may still be present.

      To confuse issues even further, there are many other factors besides liver injury that could affect the levels of AST and ALT. For example, males have higher transaminase levels than females. And, African-American men have higher AST levels compared with Caucasian men.  Even the time of day that a blood sample is drawn may influence the level of transaminase elevation. People appear to have higher transaminase levels in the morning and afternoon than in the evening.  Food intake does not appear to have a significant effect on transaminase levels.  Thus, levels do not significantly differ in the fasting and non-fasting state.  Finally, transaminase levels may vary from day-to-day."


Good luck!
MO

    
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Jessie: thank you so much for your concern. I will keep you updated as soon as i solve this mystery myself! it's taking quiet some time but i'm hoping to know within the next 3 weeks. thank you again.

myown: your information was great! I do not grow herbs in my backyard, as nice as that sounds. Im going to follow up with what you suggested and i'll keep in touch to let you know how it goes. if i'm not successful with the doctor im seeing now i will most certainly see the one you suggested. thank you so much again i really appreciate it.
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Good I'm glad the info was helpful and yes please do keep in touch and let us know how you make out. Good luck! MO
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