On a blood test what is bilirubin?

Last Update: April 20, 2022

This is a question our experts keep getting from time to time. Now, we have got the complete detailed explanation and answer for everyone, who is interested!

Asked by: Miss Ardella Kub IV
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A bilirubin test measures the levels of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin (bil-ih-ROO-bin) is a yellowish pigment that is made during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin passes through the liver and is eventually excreted out of the body.

What is a bad bilirubin level?

In adults, normal bilirubin levels are less than one milligram per deciliter. High bilirubin levels are greater than 2.5 milligrams of bilirubin per deciliter. High bilirubin levels result in jaundice — a condition that causes a distinct yellow cast to the skin, the whites of eyes, and the underside of the tongue.

What does it mean if you test positive for bilirubin?

High levels of bilirubin could mean your liver is not functioning correctly. However, high levels can also be due to medications, exercise, or certain foods. Bilirubin is also a product of breakdown of red blood cells, and an elevated reading may be related to disorders of red blood cells and not liver disease.

How do you reduce high bilirubin?

Quick tips
  1. Drink at least eight glasses of fluids per day. ...
  2. Consider adding milk thistle to your routine. ...
  3. Opt for fruits like papaya and mango, which are rich in digestive enzymes.
  4. Eat at least 2 1/2 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit per day.
  5. Look for high-fiber foods, such as oatmeal, berries, and almonds.

What are the signs and symptoms of high bilirubin?

Or, with moderately high bilirubin, you may only have jaundice, a yellow cast to your eyes and skin. Jaundice is the main sign of high bilirubin levels.
...
What are the symptoms of high bilirubin?
  • abdominal pain or swelling.
  • chills.
  • fever.
  • chest pain.
  • weakness.
  • lightheadedness.
  • fatigue.
  • nausea.

Bilirubin Blood Test - An Overview

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What happens if bilirubin is high?

Lower than normal bilirubin levels are usually not a concern. Elevated levels may indicate liver damage or disease. Higher than normal levels of direct bilirubin in your blood may indicate your liver isn't clearing bilirubin properly. Elevated levels of indirect bilirubin may indicate other problems.

What happens if bilirubin Direct is high?

Share on Pinterest High bilirubin can lead to jaundice. A high level of bilirubin in the blood is known as hyperbilirubinemia. High bilirubin levels can cause jaundice. Jaundice makes the skin and the whites of the eyes appear yellow, due to the brown and yellow bilirubin in the blood.

What foods to avoid if you have high bilirubin?

Foods and drinks to avoid or limit during jaundice recovery include:
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to most internal bodily tissues, including the liver. ...
  • Refined carbohydrates. ...
  • Packaged, canned, and smoked foods. ...
  • Saturated and trans fats. ...
  • Raw or undercooked fish or shellfish. ...
  • Beef and pork.

Can bilirubin be treated?

Treatments to lower the level of bilirubin in your baby's blood may include: Enhanced nutrition. To prevent weight loss, your doctor may recommend more-frequent feeding or supplementation to ensure that your baby receives adequate nutrition. Light therapy (phototherapy).

Is there any medicine to reduce bilirubin?

Medicines that may decrease bilirubin levels. This includes vitamin C, phenobarbital, and theophylline.

What color is your urine if you have liver problems?

For example, dark brown urine may indicate liver disease due to the presence of bile in the urine. Bloody, or reddish-colored, urine, is an indication of other potential problems, including direct injury to the kidneys. If you have these symptoms, it's important to see a doctor.

What are signs that your liver is not functioning properly?

Liver failure occurs when your liver isn't working well enough to perform its functions (for example, manufacturing bile and ridding the body of harmful substances). Symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, and blood in the stool. Treatments include avoiding alcohol and avoiding certain foods.

Can dehydration cause high bilirubin?

Bilirubin levels may increase with stress, strain, dehydration, fasting, infection or exposure to cold. In many individuals, jaundice is only evident when one of these triggers raises the bilirubin levels.

Is 20 a high bilirubin level?

Half of babies have some jaundice. Usually it is mild. The level of bilirubin that is harmful is around 20. Reaching a level this high is rare.

Is 17 a high bilirubin level?

Jaundice is considered pathologic if it presents within the first 24 hours after birth, the total serum bilirubin level rises by more than 5 mg per dL (86 mol per L) per day or is higher than 17 mg per dL (290 mol per L), or an infant has signs and symptoms suggestive of serious illness.

Is 13 a high bilirubin level?

Since 97% of term babies have serum bilirubin values <13 mg/dl, all infants with a serum bilirubin level >13 mg/dl require a minimum work up.

How long does it take for bilirubin levels to return to normal?

Bilirubin levels slowly improve over 3–12 weeks. has a different blood type from the mother. If mother and baby have different blood types, the mother's body makes antibodies that attack the baby's red blood cells.

Why do adults get jaundice?

Jaundice happens when there's too much bilirubin, a yellow-orange substance, in your blood. It's found in your red blood cells. When those cells die, the liver filters it from the bloodstream. But if something's wrong and your liver can't keep up, bilirubin builds up and can cause your skin to look yellow.

What causes elevated bilirubin?

The most common cause of elevated bilirubin is a problem with either the liver or the gallbladder, both parts of the digestive system. Gallstones: Gallstones can block or slow down passage of a liquid called bile. Bile carries bilirubin to your intestines to be eliminated with stool.

What food can damage your liver?

Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup causes a fatty buildup that can lead to liver disease. Some studies show that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you're not overweight. It's one more reason to limit foods with added sugars, such as soda, pastries, and candy.

Can liver damage reversed?

In the case of cirrhosis, for example, you cannot undo the damage that has already occurred. Scarring is permanent, and the liver has lost its previous ability to function normally. However, a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate the risk of further damage.

Can exercise increase bilirubin levels?

Exercise may help increase bilirubin levels [23]. In a study of 419 sedentary postmenopausal women, high dose (but not low dose) intensity training increased bilirubin levels [23].

What causes elevated indirect bilirubin?

Common causes of elevated indirect bilirubin include: Hemolytic anemia, or destruction of too many red blood cells. Bleeding into the skin caused by injury. Bleeding in the lung caused by a blood clot.

Can fatty liver cause high bilirubin?

Elevated serum bilirubin levels are inversely associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

What is the difference between direct bilirubin and total bilirubin?

For adults over 18, normal total bilirubin can be up to 1.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) of blood. For those under 18, the normal level will be will be 1 mg/dl. Normal results for conjugated (direct) bilirubin should be less than 0.3 mg/dl. Men tend to have slightly higher bilirubin levels than women.