When you use anabolic steroids, one of your biggest concerns should be the health of your liver. After all, almost all of these compounds filter through your liver, and they can cause damage over time. Learning how to read your liver blood test results can keep you healthy, and it may even save your life.
A liver blood test helps your doctor or other healthcare providers determine whether your liver is functioning normally. The simplest of these tests can determine whether your liver is functioning normally and if there is any inflammation. If these results indicate that there might be an issue, other liver blood tests can help you determine the extent of the abnormal function or inflammation. Many people get abnormal liver function test results even when they are otherwise healthy, but when you use anabolic steroids for performance enhancement, it is best to assume that there are no false positives.
Before taking the time to learn how to read your liver blood test results, it’s important to know the best time to have these tests run by your doctor. There are a few different situations that may cause for liver testing.
When you get your liver blood test results back, you will often see a set of numbers. Understanding what these numbers mean and whether or not they fall within normal ranges can help you understand your liver’s overall health. The first test you should expect is a gamma glutamyl transferase (gamma GT) test. Anything under 45 is normal, and anything between 45 and 100 requires some observation and retesting. If your Gamma GT is more than 100, it indicates a liver problem. At this point, your doctor will run additional liver function tests, such as those below.
If your liver function blood test results numbers come back too high or too low, don’t panic. Oftentimes, the liver can go through a great deal of stress, yet still heal on its own. The very first thing you should do is avoid anything that may cause further damage, including not only anabolic steroids, but also alcohol, acetaminophen, and any other OTC medications or substances known for interacting with the liver. Next, you should make an appointment with your physician to determine the extent of the damage. Some of the treatments for liver damage are listed below.
After you get your liver blood test results and see your doctor, you will likely be given some information about how to change your lifestyle to help promote good liver health. Your doctor may advise you to eat low-protein diet until your liver enzymes have come back to normal levels, and this is very important. The more protein you consume, the harder your liver must work to process it. If you are overweight, lifestyle changes that will help you shed pounds in a healthy way can help bring your enzymes back to normal, too.
Of course, the best way to avoid abnormal liver blood test results is to prevent liver damage in the first place. If you’re using steroids, use them according to guidelines and never drink alcohol on-cycle. Take breaks between cycles as recommended, and be sure to work hard to keep yourself hydrated. You might also choose to add a milk thistle supplement to your daily regimen; some studies have shown it can help strengthen your liver while using steroids or other products that might otherwise cause damage.
Remember that if any of the numbers in your liver function tests are high, it does not necessarily indicate a significant problem such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or even cancer. Anabolic steroids are hard on your liver, and if your liver blood test results come back abnormal, then you may need to take a break for a while and give it time to heal.