Re: Are these numbers ok?
Hi meblond, I'm not a doctor but your labs certainly wouldn't stand anyone's hair on end... They actually look very nice for a moderate drinker. The bilirubin is just outside the normal range, but only by a whisker. Most doc's don't sweat a single/minor out of range result, but this does indicate something you might want to keep track of with a retest in 3 or 6 months rather than waiting a year for your next routine labs. High bilirubin over a series of tests might indicate a need for further diagnostics.
There are actually two different kinds of bilirubin that can be tested for. A single result usually indicates they only tested for "total" bilirubin, but there is an additional study available for "direct" (aka: conjugated) bilirubin. In a drinker with elevated bilirubin this additional breakdown is desirable as elevated direct bilirubin is associated with alcoholic stress on the liver, while total bilirubin can indicate sluggishness in the gallbladder or stones. A elevated alkaline phosphatase would also indicate bad bile flow due to stones or other factors.
Your ALT/AST enzymes, while lookin' good in this test are rather fluid in nature and can change from week to week and month to month depending on variable stress on the liver. If you had been drinking your usual amount the week before the blood draw, these numbers look like you're not stressing your liver too badly, but if you'd been restricting alcohol during the week or two before the blood test to "try to get a prettier looking lab" you don't really have an accurate picture of how stressed your liver is when drinking your normal amount.
Liver labs are a good indicator of recent stress or damage, but a poor indicator of cumulative damage or mild to moderate fibrosis. An ultrasound is a very cheap and easy study you might consider if your follow-up labs still show high bilirubin. It will show gallstones as well as fatty liver and moderate to advanced fibrosis (if its there) but will not show early stage fibrosis. A normal ultrasound result can give some peace of mind if your doc doesn't mind ordering it.
They say "you can't party like you used to" as you get older, and I've found (the hard way) this is true. Your labs don't show any reason for a "panic stop" to me, but cutting down is never a bad idea if you care about your health.
Last edited by BillinSD; 11-29-2012 at 07:32 PM.
Reason: typo, addition