British Liver Trust
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Back in 2010 I had problems with my liver and was Diagnosed with Fatty Liver which turned out that I had mild fibrosis. To cut a long story short I found a very helpful lady called Sarah Tattersall from the Liver Trust who helped me understand what questions I needed to ask my GP. One thing she told me to was to always get a printout of my blood results. This has been the best information everyone should know about. 6 weeks ago I had a blood test and my liver and kidneys results were raised. If you look back at my blog under ALT you can read what I have been going through but after changing to a different GP practice I was told I had high blood pressure, vitamin D deficient. High Cholesterol, and Gout. To add to all that my body was so puffy that I was in a lot of pain most of the time. I had my bloods done again this week and was told to ring for the results which I did. I was told by the receptionist that they were All Normal. This sent alarm bells ringing because I knew my body was telling me that something was not right. I then I asked what my serum ALT was only to be told they were 137 when I knew the range should be left than 50. Straight away I asked for a printout which I went and collected from the surgery. Not only did she tell me that all were normal but found on the second sheet that the TSH (thyroid) result was also raised.

I phoned my GP who confirmed I have a under active thyroid. Which I am not surprised because I had questioned this at my old surgery only to find on a old printout that it should be monitored and never had until now.

Thank you Sarah for encouraging me to ask for a printout. No doctors surgery can Deny giving you this information. Take control of your health. There are 23,000 patients at my surgery so its very difficult for Doctors to monitor everyone. I hope now my health can be improved and I thank everyone in making this forum a useful tool in getting information to people to understand their health issues.

Thanks everyone for listening to me go on about my aches and pains x

17 Replies

Hi Dusty

I'm so glad to hear that you seem to be finally getting control of your health problems.

Your advice about getting blood test results is so, so vital. Thank you for posting this and bringing it to people's attention.

I get bloods done regularly at my GP and they always come back 'normal/no action needed' according the secretary/receptionist who checks them.

This despite the fact that my medical history shows I am HBV positive, I had liver cancer 2 1/2 years ago, I have an autoimmune condition and cirrhosis of the liver. No way can my bloods be 'normal'. I keep a spreadsheet of past results at home on my computer, so that i can see which bloods are stable, which might be going up,, and which going down, so that any alarm bells are rung well in advance of a crisis. Results in isolation aren't much help.

I do hope you will now get some help and treatment, and 3 cheers for Sarah plus 3 cheers for your persistance and assertivenesss

All the best.



Thanks Bolly for your encouragement. That is a good idea about keeping a spreadsheet. Why is it we have to go through so many different things in our life to learn from our experiences to pass on to others?

I feel I have so many stings to my harp now that I would like things to go a little straight forward.

I think I am on a high at the moment and just hope that health wise things will settle down. I am not really sure at what level my alt levels should be, before I should be concerned it is 137 at the moment. I would value your advise on this?

Thanks again


dustyDay and Bolly

Thanks both for your story and advice, I was that new yo on this block a few months ago, and still am learning. But keeping records, enquiry and asking questions is vital, even challenge people/specialist answer. I/we are not experts but we know our bodies and most on here research the results/test/symptoms/side effects and what they mean. I too have had results back that are out of range but I get back all okay. They might be but if a result says out of range why, if its minor then fine.

only- I too was going to set up a spreadsheet, I could not find a app or a excel spreadsheet on web so I have to start one, unless some nice Mr Bolly would like to share a blank one. Would be a good resource....

I thank BLT for this forum and the information, better and more concise than I have had at a 10 min consultation.


I Agree with you if it was not for this board I do not know where I would be. Also it would be nice to have a spread sheet with what blood results we need to be done I think some times the nurse is guessing what the doctor wants. The last week when I had mine done she put five files to be filled but then only did two. She missed my Cholesterol Vitamin D and Glucose.


It's not really what test we need as each patient is different with different sues/symptoms. I don't need a Vit D or cholesterol test, but you do, believe that is for the"experts" to decide. In my mind its range (if we can get the definitive number), a synopsis of why this test is taken and a method of recording weekly/monthly ad hoc results. graph the results.....don't ask for much do I.

Poor showing they forgot to take 3 bloods and important ones for you too.,


Yes I agree Bigplanet we just need to keep on top of it don't we? Now I know I have underactive thyroid I am now tying to do research on that. But at least now all my symptoms seem to fit. I am now trying to work out the way forward in getting a good balance diet and returning back to my swimming. I felt so tired and guilty because I felt like it. So I am going to start by loving myself and not worry about others thinking how fat I look. I know why so it's down to me to put it right. Time for Mrs Browns boys on TV it is one programme that makes me laugh out loud. I don't like the swearing but it makes me laugh. I think the neighbours wonder what I am laughing at. Take care


Lol...yes just watched it too. BTW it's Andy with Decompenstated ALD with a few other bits of issues. Tiredness, fatigue is a common subject and issue. I am sure the Dr thinks I am making it up sometimes. blood results, tests and next new test gets me confused what next, runs from possible having HIV to Cancer etc etc...or it's just a positive negative text and not to worry's not HIV that deffo....

Well I have the other problem, I have lost 4 st and now skin and bones. Diet is one of my hot topics at the moment, see other threads.


Sorry Dusty, forgot to answer this question about your elevated ALT:

"should I be concerned it is 137 at the moment"

Well that is out of range, normal range at my laboratory is 10-50iu/L.

Something is causing inflammation in your liver.

Are the other elements of your Liver Function Test normal? Is your ALP, your albumin and your bilirubin normal?

If so, then its just the ALT that is out of range, not your liver function as a whole.

If its just the ALT, the cause could be the medication you are on or it could be the thyroid problem. Is it underactive thyroid you have?

I would be looking back at previous ALT results - how long has it been high, is it still going up or has it stabilised. I would make a decision about what to do about it based on how it has been over the last few sets of blood tests you have had done.


hi Bolly sorry I did not reply sooner been a bit hectic with Grandchildren. I took your advise and done a spreadsheet. I quite agree it does make you see a pattern the only thing is I do not think my GP can see a pattern yet because he said he has not got my previous results. I luckily have got them since 05/01/11 although I have not got the ones from QEB. However I have noticed that my ALT results for the had gone down from 193 to 50 that was in 01/12

then these are the results from then on

70 - 05/12

60 - 08/12

63 - 08/12

45 - 11/12

101 - 02/13

137 - 03/12

Serum Bilirubin between 9 and 10

Serum Albumin

44 - 01/11

46 - 01/11

43 - 01/12

42 - 05/12

44 - 08/12

42 - 08/12

45 - 11/12

48 - 02/13

48 - 03/13

I only just started to take Thyroid meds so these blood results were done before. I have been told to have a blood test in 3 months time. Do you think I should ask for any other bloods to be taken then. I have been left a bit high and dry what I should do for the Underactive Thyroid but there is a consultant coming to Milton Keynes in June from Queens Elizabeth Birmingham to do a talk on Underactive Thyroid which I am going to attend. The only thing the GP did say is that I will be on meds for the rest of my life.

any pointers would be appreciated.

ps started back swimming yesterday so hopefully my weight will go and I can get fitter.


oops only just spotted this Dusty.

Your ALT level has been a bit up and down over the years.

I would expect the ALT levels to be elevated in 2010 when you were diagnosed with fibrosis and fatty liver. You mentioned in a post that in 2010 you had 'problems' with your liver that led, if I remember right, to the referral to Queen Elizabeth Birmingham. Most people have no symptoms of liver problems unless they are jaundiced, have abdominal pain in the liver areas, or gastric changes - what symptoms did you have that led the GP to investigate liver problems? Its not unusual for people who have type2 diabetes and are a bit overweight to have fatty liver. Luckily these are typically ‘lifestyle’ rather than genetic conditions and can be ‘cured’ with lifestyle changes rather than resorting to medication.

Once you had the fatty liver/fibrosis diagnosis at Birmingham, did you have any nutrition/lifestyle advice given (apart from 'healthy diet' and 'lose weight' which I think are not that helpful, its more useful to be taught that about insulin resistance. The body’s sensitivity to insulin can go down with increasing body weight, age, or a history of type 2 diabetes. With decreased sensitivity to insulin the body makes more insulin to regulate blood sugar and these high insulin levels cause increased blood pressure, increased cholesterol triglycerides, and fatty liver.). Did you have any follow up clinics to monitor progress. As the original fatty liver/fibrosis diagnosis was 3 years ago, without much follow up information its difficult to say if your ALT levels have started to rise in 2013 (they fell in 2012) because the fatty liver/fibrosis is getting worse, or for other reasons, maybe the thyroid.

You lost 2 stone after the 2010 diagnosis; - I presume the weight loss was mainly during 2010/11 – is that when your ALT went down from 193 to 50? If so, is there a pattern to any results you have that suggest your liver health improved as your weight dropped and your diet improved?

In 2012 you had a lot of liver function tests run quite close together. Why was that (assuming that your health had improved with the weight loss and you were discharged from the QEB as not needing liver follow up?). Were these done by the GP. i.e you have results from May, August and November. Your liver function seemed to improve over 2012, the ALT results fell and by November are in normal range, - your albumin and bilirubin appear to be normal over the years - so what health problems were triggering the GP taking blood tests during 2012, was it general fatigue, feeling unwell, fluid retention?

Can you remember what was happening in Jan/Feb this year when it spiked to 101? Did it coincide with other symptoms apart from the fluid retention and could it be that this was the start of the underactive thyroid? As its now 137 it seems to be going on an upward trend – who has taken responsibility for checking this again? At the moment it probably would be described as ‘mildly’ elevated, but I would want to keep an eye on it and check it doesn’t go much higher. Are you going on Thyroxine for the thyroid. You should have bloods taken every 6-8 weeks initially to see how you respond, so maybe ask for LFTs to be done to monitor this ALT rise.


Hi Bolly Nov 2011 I had my 60th birthday a friend bought me a chefs knife but unfortunately whilst I was trying to get the plastic tie off I cut across the knuckle. I did not realise at the time but I had cut a tendon across the knuckle I went to my GP the next day, to cut along story short it took 11 months 3 Physios 3 more visits to GP then ultra sound before they finally realises what I had done. I had to take photos so they could see how swollen it was at night and i was unable to bend my finger. They finally did carpal tunnel but although that finger now has no nerve in it I am not in pain. I think this was the cause of the downward spiral where I was up most nights so started eating to comfort me and get through the night. I started feeling unwell no energy in the summer I used to clean for people who were terminally ill but when I came home I did not have any energy left to do my own so I packed it in. I knew some thing was wrong but each time I went to the doctors they just said we will take bloods then when they came back raised they just said they would take more. Unfortunately I did not get printouts, when I did some of the printouts were asking for bloods to be done again or the blood sample were not any good but they just told me they were normal so I took there word for it.

By October 2012 that is when I started swelling in hands and feet. My GP said I was suffering with health anxiety and would not find out what the problem was until they did the postmortem. That is when my family made me change to a different GP practice.

Since then they have diagnose High Blood Pressure, low Vitamin D Cholesterol was 10, gout, and the last two weeks underactive Thyroid. The edema in my feet does not feel as bad but for some silly reason I have pressure sores on both elbows, I cannot think how I could of done it but both sores are in he same place on each elbow. I am hoping that now I am taking the thyroid meds I am going to feel lot better. I have been told to have another blood test in 3 months do you think that is too long?

Hope you had. Good weekend and not eaten too many Easter eggs. I have had 1 small box of Lindt chocolate and 1 rabbit so once they have gone no more chocolates or me:)


So would you say that the diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol were aggravated if not triggered by what you were eating during 2012. If so, hopefully these can be corrected by a change of nutrition/lifestyle. By change of nutrition I dont mean cutting calories, I mean an understanding of what nutrition will help lower your blood pressure, your cholesterol and remove the diabetes risk. You can cut calories but still be eating the wrong foots, ie you could eat say, 1,500 calories a day but be eating bread, cakes, biscuits, sugar etc.

To lower your blood pressure your nutrition should focus on foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein and fibre and avoid caffeine, baked goods and high fat spreads and oils as well as reducing the intake of salt to less than 1,500 milligrams per day.

To lower your cholesterol, avoid foods that are high in saturated fats such as red meats, butter, processed meats, cakes and biscuits. Switch to foods that contain unsaturated fats including oily fish, nuts and seeds. You may find there is a crossover, for example nuts can provide protein, minerals such as potassium and unsaturated fats.

Many of us in the northern hemisphere are Vit D3 deficient because of the lack of sunshine. We are only just realising this, hence tv adverts for food products such as yogurt that are enriched with Vit D3. Its not an 'illness' and can be corrected by supplementing. Low Vit D3 levels account for many vague aches and pains.

Re the Thyroxine monitoring. Medical practice books suggest that 6-8 weeks is the time for retesting the thyroid, but I think you would struggle to persuade your GP to do it sooner than the 3 months they have offered, just because they dont seem very patient friendly! I would insist on them re-checking the LFT at the same time though. I dont like the way its rising at the moment.

Until you have conquered the blood pressure, the cholesterol and the potential diabetes with nutrition rather than pills i wouldnt expect you to suddenly feel a lot better on just the thyroxine for the thyroid. Try not to pin your hopes on this being the magic fix all pill, and continue to work on nutrition to help your other health issues.

I confess to having some rather yummy Greens chocolate easter egg, and a Cadbury caramel from inside another egg! Also one of my clients gave me an enormous tin of Quality Street which would have been churlish to refuse (ha ha). I'll hide it from family for as long as possible! Actually I don't like sugar/chocolate much, as since trying to be 'liver friendly' in my nutrition and cutting down on sugar it kind of reduces the sweet tooth and everything becomes toooo sweet.


Hi Bolly that is really good advice I have eaten all the chocolate so now I am not buying any more. Really strange at the moment I am trying to listen to my body and eat when I am hungry tonight just do not feel I need to eat. Unfortunately got to ring GP tomorrow ladies problem which I have not had for few years I think it may be Thyroid meds but will check. I seem so short of breath all the time which is really annoying me its not a asthma type cough just no breath.

The weather was so lovely pm today so started to dismantle a fence that needs to be replaced. I felt great doing it but perhaps did a bit too much. Why do we not learn to pace ourselves. Chuffed that I have started to do it. The guy next door has 15 years on me but would leave it for ever. I have to use tools that are not too heavy now but I will get there in the end.

I always say we have. Life Time to do these things:)

I have done a spreadsheet like your so i now know what bloods I want them to check where before I just left it to them to decide which ones to do.

Thanks for all your help your are a real encouragement to me.


The following symptoms, all of which you have mentioned at some time, seem to be syptoms of hypothyroidism.

: tiredness, weight gain, fluid retention, menstrual irregularity, carpal tunnel syndrome, fatigue, shortness of breath with exercise, and decreased ability to exercise. It seems its the low thyroxine level that cause blood lipids (cholesterol, etc) to rise.

It will take time and some more blood tests to find the right level of meds for your body, so keep diary of symptoms that are thyroid related and note which ones get better and which get worse between now and your next blood test.

Listen to your body like you are with the food,and if its struggling with physical activity then moderate the activity. You will be putting your heart under stress if you push through symptoms like breathlessness.


Thanks Bolly


interesting about the vitamin D deficiency-I had the same a while back and this was the first thing that got picked on a routine blood test-my GP though it strange that a caucasian would be getting low vitamin d counts despite being done in february. Following a cessation of alcohol intake the vitamin D normalised but recurred. Maybe this should be a bit of a warning flag for those who drink regularly...?


Hi bricclone believe it or not I have never been a drinker I only had the occasional glass of wine on a Saturday evening with a friend. I do not drink at all now because it just does not agree with me. So I think everyone should be checked. I have two nephews who have underactive thyroid and both have low Vit D. Anyone who has suggestions how to get rid of a cold I would be grateful had mine 3 weeks the GP says it not on my chest but gave me Codeine linctus for cough but still no change.


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