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CLL Support Association
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Inquiry regarding Liver Function Test

Hi all members, I am diagnosed with CLL in February 2016, have been on wait & watch, but following flu I had around end of May 2016 caused me swelled glands of my neck, once on the right side, then on the left - my GP doctor recommended doing a blood test to check if CLL affected other organs, the result showed increase in some components of the liver function, since then I have been very worried, and the GP doctor simply asked me to wait till I can see my Haematologist on 14 July, it has been 7 weeks of waiting, and the swelling on my neck is on and off every few days, being worried caused me feelings of abdominal pain always. I am worried about my liver, I don't want to have something on the top of the CLL. I always crave for sweet snacks and I was told that sugar and salt cause damage to the liver. Please help me with my inquiry, can't wait till I see the haematologist on 14 July. Cheers, Ezabelle from Australia.

4 Replies

Hi Ezabella and welcome to our community.

Who told you that salt and sugar cause damage to the liver? I doubt it was your GP and I also doubt your GP is all that concerned, or your GP would not have told you to wait until you saw your haematologist (which is only 10 days away in any case). If salt and sugar were serious threats to our livers, given most of us consume more of these than we should, hospitals would be overloaded with people needing liver transplants!

I'm not medically qualified, but I think you need more information to put this into perspective. There are three tests on the blood metabolic panel that provide an indication of liver health; ALP, ALT, AST, but these can be higher than normal for reasons other than your liver having problems. If one or more are raised because your liver isn't working as well as it should, the cause could be an illness or due to some drugs - or even over the counter or alternative/complementary supplements you are taking - perhaps something you were taking to help you recover from the flu? I'd look at these before worrying about sugar and salt consumption unless you have high blood pressure or are significantly overweight.

I'd suggest you ask for a copy of your blood test results and check which tests are out of the normal range. Your liver function should recover fine if you identify what's causing the problems and discontinue it. If a prescribed drug is causing the problem (which your GP would be able to help you with), then changing to a similar acting drug may be all that's necessary.

It is important to take particular care our livers when we have a CLL diagnosis, since we need a healthy liver to handle the additional drugs we may need to help us live well with CLL, particularly if we need treatment. So it's certainly worth reviewing your weight, fitness and diet and working out what you can do improve your health. Changing to healthier alternatives to sweet snacks may improve your health, but I suspect that it is something other than sugar or salt that is causing the raised liver function test results.


Our spleens (under our left rib cage) can become enlarged with CLL and less often our livers (right side), but I suspect your abdominal pain may be due to your anxiety, rather than your CLL or a liver problem. You should however, make notes of when you have abdominal pains, where the pain is worse, when they occur in regard to eating (and what food you've eaten) and tell this to the haematologist.

Let us know how you go on the 14th!



Thanks Neil for your supportive reply, really calmed me till I see the Haematologist on 14 July. Prior to the liver test; I was taking black olive oil every morning, and before that I also tried two different blends of Chinese herbs prescribed to me by the Chinese Natural Medicine Center in Melbourne, in addition to multi vitamin (CENTRUM for Women 50+). My GP doctor asked me if I have been drinking lot of alcohol, but I never had alcohol, and I stopped being social smoker since April 2016 - stopped indulging myself with one cigar a day, stopped all supplements since the liver result. Cheers, Ezabelle


I expect you'll have a much better result next test. My liver test results shot way up when I was taking supplements in a misguided effort to improve my immunity just after my diagnosis. ALT was near double the maximum healthy range and AST nearly hit the maximum. Both dropped back into the normal range after I stopped taking over the counter immune boosting supplements and dropped back the amount of green tea capsules I was taking at my specialist's advice. Took a couple of months. My liver tests have remained fine over the last 7 years.



Thank you Neil for your supportive reply. I hope the next liver test gonna be better. Cheers, Ezabelle


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