Many diseases and conditions can contribute to elevated liver enzymes. Your doctor determines the specific cause of your elevated liver enzymes by reviewing your medications, your signs and symptoms and, in some cases, other tests and procedures.
More common causes of elevated liver enzymes include:
- Certain prescription medications, including statin drugs used to control cholesterol
- Drinking alcohol
- Heart failure
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Over-the-counter pain medications, particularly acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
Other causes of elevated liver enzymes may include:
- Alcoholic hepatitis (severe liver inflammation caused by excessive alcohol consumption)
- Autoimmune hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by an autoimmune disorder)
- Celiac disease (small intestine damage caused by gluten)
- Cirrhosis (early stages of liver scarring)
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
- Dermatomyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness and skin rash)
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis)
- Hiatal hernia
- Hemochromatosis (too much iron stored in your body)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation)
- Polymyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness)
- Toxic hepatitis (liver inflammation caused by drugs or toxins)
- Wilson's disease (too much copper stored in your body)
May 05, 2015
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Winter WE. The liver and biliary tract. In: Laboratory Medicine: The Diagnosis of Disease in the Clinical Laboratory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed April 15, 2015.
- Friedman LS. Approach to the patient with abnormal liver and biochemical function tests. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 15, 2015.
- Lee TH, et al. Evaluation of elevated liver enzymes. Clinics in Liver Disease. 2012;16:183.
- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 21, 2015.