"Mildly high" Enzymes?: I (24/male) have... - British Liver Trust

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"Mildly high" Enzymes?

safeduck10 profile image

I (24/male) have had an on and off dull ache/bloated feeling in my right upper abdomen for over a month now. Got pretty scared as I thought it was due to being a heavy drinker for around 4 years. Since then I've cut down on alcohol massively but not completely, I'm at least having 3-4 days off a week and at the start of September did 2 straight weeks no booze.

Anyhow, I expressed my concerns to my doctor in early September, she thought it was gastritis after a quick examination and prescribed omeprazole. The pain/feeling subsided but has never completely disappeared. I went back to the doctor saying I'm concerned this is liver related and she got me a liver function test. I've had the results today and she said I have "mildly high liver enzymes"... Didn't actually get a chance to chat to my doctor and the receptionist just relayed this and said I'm booked for another test in 4 weeks. I'm also getting an ultrasound done in around 6 weeks time.

How serious is this? Kinda freaked out.

11 Replies

Hi. It's serious enough that you need to make healthier choices, but the liver is a very forgiving organ and can regenerate itself after all but the most severe damage.

You are young, so you may have just got the wake up call to reverse any damage that has occurred. If that is even what is going on! I know it's useless to say, don't worry, but try not to worry just yet.

Thanks for the reassurance! Kind of pissed off at myself for putting my body through such a punishment more than anything...


I am new here but I also recently returned “mildly” high AST/ALT liver enzymes. There are many things that could cause this from my understanding including alcohol use/abuse, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, etc etc. I have an appointment with a gastrologist in two days, and my guess is that they will tell me to eat healthy, stop drinking, and retest, and or take some scans to take a look at my liver.

As stated, the liver is very hardy and can regenerate itself as long as massive damage hasn’t been done. High levels of AST/ALT is a sign that the liver is inflammed and/or damaged - but it doesn’t automatically mean the damage is the so terrible that it can’t be corrected by changing your habits. Our minds jump to the worst obviously but from what I’ve read elevated enzymes are fairly common in the primary care setting. The ultrasound should shed more light on the situation (I’ll share my findings in a couple days once I speak with the doctor also).

don't cut down on your drinking, stop drinking, this is a wake-up call for you. Good luck

"don't cut down on your drinking" - that part sounds geat!

On a serious note though I know this is what needs to happen, it's hard to break a habit of 4 years though, especially a habit I enjoy.

All i can say to that is "GET SOME HELP" before your next call is more than a wake-up call. Find something else you like to do and let that be your habit. GL

Quick follow up - I saw the GI doctor today and she referred me for additional bloodwork (hepatitis test, celiac, etc etc) in order to rule out another common disease causing it. Also ordered an ultrasound. She says she sees lot of people with elevated liver enzymes and the vast majority turn out to be fatty liver (which is reversible with lifestyle changes). Said “don’t lose sleep over it”.....going to get the blood work done and also the US.

safeduck10 profile image
safeduck10 in reply to TJNDND

What symptoms do you have (if any) and have they got better/worse with time? While I'm not a doctor I suspect what I have had (from Dr Google) is either fatty liver caused by drinking or mild alcoholic hepatitis. I had pretty bad symptoms at the start of September, extreme fatigue, shivering, dull ache in both RUQ and back right shoulder blade, it scared the crap out of me but subsided after a 2 week break. Since coming back to drinking sometimes I have a sensation of bloating under my right ribcage but I never experience pain or shivering like I did then. A bit of fatigue every now and then but that's it. Then again that's just me completely guessing.

My doctor doesn't seem too concerned at this point anyhow - told me to at least cut down on drinking and not panic too much as blood results only showed mild elevation, no indication of permanent liver damage. Hopefully I'll get my ultrasound in around 6-8 weeks. I think the harsh reality is I need to knock booze on the head for good but that is hard, I enjoy it too much lol.

Good luck anyway!

TJNDND profile image
TJNDND in reply to safeduck10

I don’t have any symptoms really - just the elevated enzymes and high cholesterol/triglycerides. I drink quite a bit (20 drinks a week if not more) but have stopped since getting the results showing the elevated values. Started drinking sparkling water and haven’t had a drink for a week now. The doctor didn’t seem very concerned and said there are many things that can cause elevated enzymes. I googled also and immediately jumped to the worst causes....but I asked if this is common and she said yes lots of people come in for elevated enzymes and it’s typically always fatty liver which is becoming increasingly common with our diets these days and the convienience culture.

TJNDND profile image
TJNDND in reply to safeduck10

Just a quick follow up. I got the results of the ultrasound and the result was an “enlarged” fatty liver with a lot of medical speak thrown in. I missed the doctors call and she is out until tomorrow, but the result popped up on my medical app. I should know more tomorrow but I’m assuming she will tell me to quit drinking and eat healthier (both of which I’ve already done). The good news is hopefully I will prevent any further alcohol related damage and never be hungover again. Good luck and take care!

safeduck10 profile image
safeduck10 in reply to TJNDND

Is there any concern about scarring or anything like that?

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