Liver Health

Liver Health Tests and health information

Do you have a problem with your liver?

Ulta Lab Tests' liver function panel and hepatic blood tests can help you detect, assess, and monitor liver disease or damage.

There are a few signs and symptoms to look out for if you're concerned that your liver health is failing. Jaundice is one of the most noticeable signs of liver illness. Your skin will develop a yellowish tone, and the whites of your eyes may also turn yellow. 
Your liver may not be functioning correctly if your urine is dark. If your urine is consistently amber or brown in color, this is cause for worry. The liver's inability to break down bilirubin, a chemical molecule, causes this. 

Symptoms include abdominal swelling, pale-colored feces, nausea, tiredness, easily bruised skin, and swollen legs or ankles. If you've been experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above for an extended period, you might consider obtaining a liver health test. 

If you want to learn more about liver health and the blood tests that can help you, click on the title of the articles below.

Liver function tests are blood tests that can assist you and your doctor detect, evaluating, and determining whether or not you have liver disease. They can also be used to track how well individuals with liver disease are responding to therapy. These tests may yield different results depending on what is causing the liver damage, but they usually include bilirubin, albumin, and prothrombin time (PT). 

If you're concerned about having an unhealthy liver, we offer Liver function tests and comprehensive lab testing services so that you can find out what is going on in your body.

Take control of your health with Ulta Lab Tests! You may obtain discounted lab tests online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Plus, we have 2100 locations nationwide. Quest Diagnostics delivers test results in 24 to 48 hours for most tests after the specimen collection, and our customer service is always friendly and helpful.

Order your liver blood lab tests now so you can take charge of your health and stay healthy. Choose from the tests below and start today.


Name Matches
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]

  • Alpha-1-Antitrypsin, Quantitative [ 235 ]
  • Ceruloplasmin [ 326 ]
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) [ 7573 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]
  • Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) and AFP-L3 [ 19529 ]

  • Alpha-1-Antitrypsin, Quantitative [ 235 ]
  • Ceruloplasmin [ 326 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Reflex Confirmation [ 498 ]
  • Hepatitis A Antibody, Total [ 508 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody (IgM) [ 4848 ]
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) [ 7573 ]
  • Hepatitis C AB with reflex to HCV RNA, QN, PCR [ 8472 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]
  • Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) and AFP-L3 [ 19529 ]

  • Alpha-1-Antitrypsin, Quantitative [ 235 ]
  • Ceruloplasmin [ 326 ]
  • Copper [ 363 ]
  • Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) [ 482 ]
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Reflex Confirmation [ 498 ]
  • Hepatitis A Antibody, Total [ 508 ]
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD) [ 593 ]
  • Hepatitis B Core Antibody (IgM) [ 4848 ]
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) [ 7573 ]
  • Hepatitis C AB with reflex to HCV RNA, QN, PCR [ 8472 ]
  • Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR [ 8847 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Hepatic Function Panel [ 10256 ]
  • Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) and AFP-L3 [ 19529 ]
  • DCP (Des-Gamma-Carboxy-Prothrombin) [ 19982 ]
  • Hepatitis C Viral RNA, Quantitative, Real-Time PCR [ 35645 ]

Serum albumin measurements are used in the monitoring and treatment of numerous diseases involving those related to nutrition and pathology particularly in the liver and kidney. Serum albumin is valuable when following response to therapy where improvement in the serum albumin level is the best sign of successful medical treatment. There may be a loss of albumin in the gastrointestinal tract, in the urine secondary to renal damage or direct loss of albumin through the skin. More than 50% of patients with gluten enteropathy have depressed albumin. The only cause of increased albumin is dehydration; there is no naturally occurring hyperalbuminemia

Serum alkaline phosphatase levels are of interest in the diagnosis of hepatobiliary disorders and bone disease associated with increased osteoblastic activity. Moderate elevations of alkaline phosphatase may be seen in several conditions that do not involve the liver or bone. Among these are Hodgkin's disease, congestive heart failure, ulcerative colitis, regional enteritis, and intra-abdominal bacterial infections. Elevations are also observed during the third trimester of pregnancy.

This assay is intended for use in the assessment of risk for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic liver disease.

IMPORTANT - The specimen for this test must be collected at a patient service center that can collect, store and transport frozen samples as outlined below.  

IMPORTANT: Before ordering this lab test, check and confirm with the selected patient service center to ensure that they can collect, store and transport frozen samples as outlined below.

Preferred Specimen(s) 

2 mL frozen plasma collected in an EDTA (lavender-top) tube

Collection Instructions 

Collect blood from stasis-free vein of patient (e.g., no tourniquet). Patient should not clench fist during collection, as muscular exertion often increases venous ammonia levels. Patient should avoid smoking prior to phlebotomy since smoking increases plasma ammonia levels. Tubes should be filled completely and kept tightly stoppered at all times. Place immediately on ice. Separate plasma from cells within 20 minutes and freeze plasma immediately.

Transport Temperature 


Specimen Stability 

Room temperature: Unstable
Refrigerated: Unstable
Frozen -20° C: 72 hours
Frozen -70° C: 7 days

Reject Criteria 

Hemolysis • Lipemia • Received thawed • PPT Potassium EDTA (white-top) tube

Clinical Significance

Ammonia is one of the by-products of protein metabolism. Elevated blood ammonia levels have been associated with severe liver dysfunction such as hepatic encephalopathy, coma resulting from cirrhosis, severe hepatitis, Reye's syndrome, and drug hepatotoxicity. Also, elevated blood ammonia has been reported in cardiac failure, azotemia, and pulmonary emphysema. Correlation between plasma ammonia and the degree of encephalopathy can be erratic.

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The major sources of amylase are the pancreas and the salivary glands. The most common cause of elevation of serum amylase is inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). In acute pancreatitis, serum amylase begins to rise within 6-24 hours, remains elevated for a few days and returns to normal in 3-7 days. Other causes of elevated serum amylase are inflammation of salivary glands (mumps), biliary tract disease and bowel obstruction. Elevated serum amylase can also be seen with drugs (e.g., morphine) which constrict the pancreatic duct sphincter preventing excretion of amylase into the intestine.

AST is widely distributed throughout the tissues with significant amounts being in the heart and liver. Lesser amounts are found in skeletal muscles, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, lungs, and brain. Injury to these tissues results in the release of the AST enzyme to general circulation. In myocardial infarction, serum AST may begin to rise within 6-8 hours after onset, peak within two days and return to normal by the fourth or fifth day post infarction. An increase in serum AST is also found with hepatitis, liver necrosis, cirrhosis, and liver metastasis.

An increase in serum bile acids concentration in the fasting state or postprandial is considered to be a specific indicator of liver disease. A decreased level indicates bile acid malabsorption, possibly due to ileal dysfunction.

Measurement of the levels of bilirubin is used in the diagnosis and treatment of liver, hemolytic, hematologic, and metabolic disorders, including hepatitis and gall bladder obstructive disease

Measurement of the levels of bilirubin is used in the diagnosis and treatment of liver, hemolytic, hematologic, and metabolic disorders, including hepatitis and gallbladder obstructive disease.

The BUN/Creatinine ratio is useful in the differential diagnosis of acute or chronic renal disease. Reduced renal perfusion, e.g., congestive heart failure, or recent onset of urinary tract obstruction will result in an increase in BUN/Creatinine ratio. Increased urea formation also results in an increase in the ratio, e.g., gastrointestinal bleeding, trauma, etc. When there is decreased formation of urea as seen in liver disease, there is a decrease in the BUN/Creatinine ratio. In most cases of chronic renal disease the ratio remains relatively normal.

Increased CRP levels are found in inflammatory conditions including: bacterial infection, rheumatic fever, active arthritis, myocardial infarction, malignancies and in the post-operative state. This test cannot detect the relatively small elevations of CRP that are associated with increased cardiovascular risk.

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A large percentage of patients with gastrointestinal tumors (such as pancreatic, liver, gastric, colorectal tumors) and some other malignancies have been shown to have elevated serum CA 19-9 levels. Serum CA 19-9 levels may be useful for monitoring disease activity or predicting relapse following treatment. CA 19-9 should not be used as a screening test.

Low levels of fibrinogen are associated with bleeding most commonly secondary to liver disease or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Fibrinogen is an acute phase reactant and thus elevated levels may be associated with inflammation. Increased concentrations are also associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Serum Triglyceride analysis has proven useful in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diabetes mellitus, nephrosis, liver obstruction, other diseases involving lipid metabolism, and various endocrine disorders. In conjunction with high density lipoprotein and total serum cholesterol, a triglyceride determination provides valuable information for the assessment of coronary heart disease risk.

Measurement of serum 25-OH vitamin D concentrations provide a good index of circulating vitamin D activity in patients not suffering from renal disease. Lower than normal 25-OH vitamin D levels can result from a dietary deficiency, poor abosrption of the vitamin or impaired metabolism of the sterol in the liver. A 25-OH vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia. Above normal levels can lead hypercalcemia. This assay employs liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to independently measure and report the two common forms of 25-hydroxy vitamin D: 25OH D3 - the endogenous form of the vitamin and 25OH D2 - the analog form used to treat 25OH Vitamin D3 deficiency.

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Increased serum CEA levels have been detected in persons with primary colorectal cancer and in patients with other malignancies involving the gastrointestinal tract, breast, lung, ovarian, prostatic, liver and pancreatic cancers. Elevated serum CEA levels have also been detected in patients with nonmalignant disease, especially patients who are older or who are smokers. CEA levels are not useful in screening the general population for undetected cancers. However, CEA levels provide important information about patient prognosis, recurrence of tumors after surgical removal, and effectiveness of therapy.

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Decreased levels of ceruloplasmin are found in Wilson''s Disease, fulminant liver failure, intestinal malabsorption, renal failure resulting in proteinuria, chronic active hepatitis and malnutrition. Elevated levels are found in primary biliary cirrhosis, pregnancy (first trimester), oral contraceptive use and in acute inflammatory conditions since ceruloplasmin is an acute phase reactant

CH50 is a screening test for total complement activity. Levels of complement may be depressed in genetic deficiency, liver disease, chronic glomerulonephritis, rheumatoid arthritis, hemolytic anemias, graft rejection, systemic lupus erythematosis, acute glomerulonephritis, subacute bacterial endocarditis and cryoglobulinemia. Elevated complement may be found in acute inflammatory conditions, leukemia, Hodgkin's Disease, sarcoma, and Behcet's Disease.

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) Panel is used as a screening test for various disease states including anemia, leukemia, and inflammatory processes.

A CBC blood test includes the following biomarkers: WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, Platelet count, Neutrophils, Lymphs, Monocytes, Eos, Basos, Neutrophils (Absolute), Lymphs (Absolute), Monocytes(Absolute), Eos (Absolute), Basos (Absolute), Immature Granulocytes, Immature Grans (Abs)

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported.

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s

The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body. It serves many important roles, from aiding the digestion of food and liquids to filtering harmful toxins from the blood. It also creates important proteins and plays a part in hundreds of functions throughout the body.

With all of this being the case, it's important the liver remains healthy. It's also important to find out as soon as possible when it isn't working as it should. This can be done through a hepatic function panel and other lab tests relating to liver health.

There are several different things that can cause issues with the liver. This article will take a look at possible signs and symptoms of liver damage, who's at risk, and what you can do to assess liver damage.

What Is Liver Health Decline?

Liver health decline refers to a negative change in the liver's ability to function correctly. There can be many reasons a person's liver can become damaged or go into decline. 

Hepatitis A, B, and C are inflammatory conditions of the liver. A person can contract these diseases in a number of different ways, from viral infections to adverse reactions to drugs or alcohol. Abuse of alcohol can also lead to liver diseases such as cirrhosis.

Hemochromatosis is another common liver disease. People suffering from this condition store too much iron in their bodies, which can cause damage to several organs, including the liver. It is thought to be hereditary.

Other genetic liver diseases include Wilson's disease and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Cancer of the liver is another common liver disease.

Risk Factors for Liver Health Decline

Genetics can play a part in liver health decline. If a direct relative has suffered from any of the above genetic liver diseases, you may be at greater risk of contracting them.

Other factors that can put you at higher risk of liver health decline include lifestyle-related elements such as obesity, alcohol abuse, intravenous drug use, unprotected sex, Type 2 diabetes, and exposure to certain toxins.

Signs and Symptoms of Liver Health Decline

If you're worried you may be at risk of suffering from liver health decline, there are a number of signs and symptoms to observe. Jaundice is one of the most prominent signs of liver damage. This is when the skin takes on a yellowish hue; the whites of your eyes may also appear yellow.

Darkened urine can also be a sign your liver is not functioning as it should. If your urine is consistently appearing amber or brown in color, this is cause for concern. This occurs due to the liver's inability to break down a chemical compound known as bilirubin.

Other common symptoms include abdominal swelling, pale-colored stools, nausea, fatigue, easily bruising skin, and swollen legs or ankles. If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms for a prolonged period, you may want to investigate further by conducting a liver health test.

How Is Liver Health Decline Diagnosed?

There are a number of tests that can be carried out to determine how well your liver is functioning. A hepatic function panel is a comprehensive range of tests to assess the overall health of the liver. Because a hepatic (liver) panel is comprised of many different measurements, there is no one defined list of the tests it entails.

However, the measurements most often taken in the course of a liver function panel are:

  • Aspartate aminotransferase: AST is an enzyme that helps to process proteins
  • Alanine aminotransferase: ALT is another enzyme found in the liver that assists in the function of the metabolism
  • Alkaline phosphatase: ALP is an enzyme found in the liver, as well as bones, and other tissues in the body
  • Bilirubin: bilirubin is a yellow-colored waste product created during the breakdown of red blood cells
  • Albumin: a protein produced by the liver that prevents fluids from leaking out of the bloodstream

Then there are other tests that can also be conducted to detect indicators of poor liver health. Levels of the enzyme gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) may be tested, as high levels can be a sign of bile duct damage.

Another measurement that is often taken is levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LD). Elevated levels of this enzyme may indicate liver damage or a range of other disorders.

Prothrombin time (PT) is often also checked. PT is the time it takes your blood to clot. A high PT can be a sign of liver damage.

Other more general tests that can also pick up signs of liver damage include a C-reactive protein test, a complete blood count with differential and platelets blood test, and a comprehensive metabolic panel. Iron and total iron-binding capacity may also be checked.

As well as diagnosing liver decline, many of these tests are conducted to monitor liver diseases after they are diagnosed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Liver Health Decline and Lab Testing

Below are some common questions regarding liver health decline and methods for testing liver function.

How Common Is Liver Health Decline?

Liver damage and decline are on the rise. They are more common in white and Native American people and more common in men than in women.

How Are Tests Conducted?

Blood tests assess liver function. A phlebotomist will take your blood and send your sample to a lab to be assessed.

How Fast Will I Get My Results?

In the majority of cases, you will receive your results online between 24 and 48 hours after your test.

Liver Function Panel and Liver Health Lab Tests

If you're concerned about the health of your liver, consider taking a liver function panel or other liver health lab tests today. With Ulta Lab tests, you'll receive quick and confidential results without the need for health insurance or a doctor's referral.

Tests are affordable and you get a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.