Bilirubin is a yellow compound that occurs in the body as a byproduct of red blood cell breakdown. It travels to the liver, where it's processed and excreted in bile. A healthy liver will filter bilirubin from the blood, converting it into a form that can be eliminated through the digestive tract. Bilirubin levels in the blood are an important indicator of liver function and health, as well as of potential issues with bile ducts or red blood cell breakdown....


Who would benefit from testing their bilirubin value?

  • Individuals with symptoms of liver disease, such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, or dark urine.
  • Patients with conditions affecting the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts.
  • People with suspected hemolytic anemia, as increased red blood cell breakdown can raise bilirubin levels.
  • Newborns, as they commonly develop jaundice due to immature liver function.

What are the common symptoms of too high bilirubin values?

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored or clay-colored stools
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain

What can cause high bilirubin values in blood?

High bilirubin levels can be caused by:

  • Liver diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.
  • Blockages in the bile ducts, such as gallstones or tumors.
  • Hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells are broken down rapidly.
  • Genetic conditions like Gilbert’s syndrome.
  • Newborn jaundice due to immature liver function.

What can I do to improve bilirubin?

  • Address any underlying liver or gallbladder issues with appropriate medical care.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption to prevent liver damage.
  • Maintain a balanced diet to support liver health.
  • Stay hydrated and exercise regularly.
  • For hemolytic anemia, treatment depends on the underlying cause.
  • Newborn jaundice typically resolves on its own, but in some cases, medical treatment like phototherapy is necessary.

Test(s) that measure/test for Bilirubin

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