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Liver testing may predict a number of health problems in older people

Category: Liver Diseases

Abnormal liver test results are far more common in the over-75 population than most people would think, and they may predict a person's risk of dying from cancer or liver failure, according to a new study from a team of British researchers.

As much as 17 percent of the population may receive abnormal liver test results at some point in their life, said the University of Nottingham researchers. Two such tests significantly increase a patient's chances of death from liver ailments.

The researchers arrived at these conclusions after analyzing the medical records of more than 13,000 individuals. While a single abnormal liver test may be able to be explained by other causes, multiple tests usually indicate a problem.

Such procedures are such an invaluable tool, the researchers said, because an abnormal liver test could be caused by a number of different conditions, not just liver disease. Therefore, liver testing may help doctors spot many different health problems.

"Older people represent an increasingly large group of healthcare users…and we hope that this research will provide useful information in an area that has previously suffered from lack of research," said Kate Flemming, the lead researcher.

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