Liver Testing For Mono

The Common Symptoms of Mononucleosis

When an individual is stricken with mono they may encounter myriad symptoms, or they may have only a few. Each case is individual and as a result the response to the virus is individual as well. There are, of course, many commonalities in the disease which are seen in a diagnosis. Such conditions as lethargy, headache and muscle aches, fever, swollen glands and sore throat are all consistent with mono. Other symptoms may include swelling or enlargement of the liver and spleen. Since mono is a viral infection that affects the lymphatic system of the body, these two organs may be affected as well.

The Largest Glands In The Body

The liver and spleen, although large, are both considered lymph glands and have the function of cleaning and removing impurities from the blood. When the Epstein-Barr virus infects the lymphatic system, these organs are often affected by becoming swollen and enlarged. That is why the physician will caution a mono sufferer from engaging in intense activity, contact sports and bumpy rides until the organs are restored to their normal size and function. An unexpected, sharp contact could well cause the spleen to rupture necessitating emergency surgery to deal with the problem.

EPV and mono have been linked to viral hepatitis and can cause jaundice-the yellowing of the skin and eyes-as a result of excess bilirubin released into the system. Depending upon the condition of the liver during examination and whether there is continued indication that the liver is not shrinking back to normal size, or whether there is a concern for hepatitis, a liver test for infectious mononucleosis may be ordered by the doctor.

Liver Tests-What The Doctor Looks For

Liver tests are used to study liver function and to determine if there has been damage to the liver or inflammation in the liver. The tests are completed using a blood sample and indicators for liver function are bilirubin, albumin and prothrombin. There are also indicators for liver damage or inflammation called liver enzyme studies which are conducted when there is concern and/or findings suggesting a condition such as mono may have affected the liver. When there are elevated enzyme levels this often indicates liver inflammation (hepatitis) which may be an indication that a viral infection is present in the body. There are several markers the physician looks for in liver tests.

Understanding The Indicators And How The Liver Functions

Bilirubin is a major breakdown product of hemoglobin, which is derived from red blood cells which have been removed by the spleen. After the spleen separates out the hemoglobin from other components of the blood, it is transferred to the liver to be metabolized further. The distilling down of the bilirubin makes it available to be excreted into bile which is used to digest food. If the measurement of direct bilirbuin is low and the total bilirubin is high, this indicates damage to either the liver or bile ducts.

The major protein found in blood is albumin, one of many proteins which are synthesized by the liver. It is easy to measure and consequently is an excellent marker for physicians to determine the degree of damage to the liver of a patient. If the liver is chronically damaged, albumin may be low indicating that the function of the liver has been lessened.

Prothrombin time is affected by proteins associated with vitamin K which are synthesized by the liver. A lengthy or prolonged prothrombin time is mostly associated with malnutrition and the inability of the blood to absorb vitamin K. Testing for PT is not an indication for liver inflammation and should be done in conjunction with other types of testing.


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