Why You Want to Track Liver Health
Let’s start at square one. Is liver health tracking necessary? Is it the type of testing that helps you optimize your health today and well into the future?
The short answer is yes - liver health is worth tracking. It’s worth tracking because liver health is connected to many facets of a person’s life that impact overall wellbeing. Nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress and more are linked to liver health. Liver enzyme testing can also screen a person for certain diseases, monitor the progression of a disease and gauge how well a treatment or change in lifestyle choices is working to improve liver health.
Liver testing markers can include:
- ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase)
- ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase)
- AST ( Aspartate Aminotransferase)
- AST:ALT Ratio
- Avg. Blood Sugar
- Oxidative Stress (GGT - Gamma-glutamyl Transferase)
- Body Composition (Waist : Height Ratio)
Everything from diabetes to liver health obstructions can be measured with liver function tests. The biggest thing to look for with liver testing is the presence of liver enzymes in the bloodstream. This indicates the liver cells are damaged or inflamed and leaching into the blood. It’s the type of information anyone can benefit from knowing since it warrants more investigation into what’s causing the damage.
If you have a family history of liver problems it’s essential that you keep track of your liver health and do what you can to make improvements. Testing your liver enzyme levels will give you a baseline to use moving forward as you take additional tests.
Ways to Test and Track Liver Enzymes
There’s a tried and true traditional way of testing liver enzymes, and there’s a high-tech new school method. Both methods have their benefits, but at the end of the day what’s most important is you gain a better understanding of your current liver health and what can be done to improve it.
Testing Liver Enzymes
You don’t have to wait until you start experiencing symptoms to test for liver diseases and disorders. Informative liver enzyme testing involves bloodwork, but that doesn’t mean you have to get blood drawn at a doctor’s office.
Live Enzyme Testing at the Doctor’s Office
For many years the only way to know if there were issues with your liver enzymes was to visit your primary physician and get bloodwork done. You can still go that route, but it will require scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician, going to the doctor’s office, getting a physical to determine the test is beneficial, then taking the test and waiting for the doctor to call you with the results. All of this may involve a co-pay and lab fees.
At-Home Liver Enzyme Testing Kits
At-home testing kits have the advantage of being more affordable than many in-office lab tests, plus they are a lot more convenient. With an at-home test you purchase a kit online, it’s delivered to your house, you follow the directions and return the kit in a prepaid package. As soon as the test results are in you’ll be notified and sent the results.
Tracking Liver Enzyme Health
Tracking liver health is what helps you improve long term health and know what is working for you. In a way tracking is the more complex part of the process since it takes time to gather the data and see the trends start to form.
Tracking Results From Doctor’s Office Testing
Long-term tracking is the biggest shortcoming of testing at a doctor’s office. You’ll get in-depth results and analysis directly from your primary physician, but it’s a one-time affair. There’s no tracking data trends over time. The data and test results are delivered in a way that isn’t easily accessible, trackable or actionable.
Tracking the Results of At-Home Kits
One of the major advantages of at-home liver testing is that the information is more accessible and easier to track. Usually you’ll be sent an email or text message when the results from the initial test are ready. The results, information and professional overview can then be reviewed. However, tracking the data over time typically requires an app or online account that allows you to input new information. One thing to watch out for is at-home testing kits that charge a monthly fee for you to use the corresponding data.
With Choose Health you get unlimited access to our app when you purchase a liver health test. We’ll even get you started with suggestions from our physician team that are personalized based on your unique test results.