Many elements allow us to determine our state of health when a study of a blood sample is made in our blood. Many of these elements are cells with different functions in our body, such as red blood cells or white blood cells. In contrast, others are products of the metabolic processes of the organs, such as uric acid, and in this case, bilirubin, which shows a very characteristic sign when it is elevated. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain why total bilirubin in the blood rises, how this manifests itself physically and what you should do in these cases.
Table of Contents
What is bilirubin
Bilirubin is a pigment that our body forms when we get rid of red blood cells when they have completed their life cycle. In red blood cells, there is another pigment called hemoglobin, which is degraded in the spleen when red blood cells die, giving rise to bilirubin, which passes through the bloodstream to the liver, where it is used to form bile, which later It passes into the gallbladder and from where it is released into the intestine to help digest fats in food.
Bilirubin is divided into two different types:
- Direct bilirubin is what has passed through the liver and is combined with other components to form bile and be excreted in the intestine.
- While indirect bilirubin is the one that is found in the bloodstream and that has not yet reached the liver for its conjugation. The sum of both types of bilirubin forms totals bilirubin.
Indirect bilirubin generally ranges from 0.0 to 0.3 mg / dL, direct bilirubin is 0.3 to 1.2mg / dL, and normal bilirubin is around 0.3 to 1.9 mg / dL.
High bilirubin: causes
When there is an elevation of normal bilirubin levels, the existence of some damage to the liver or gallbladder that may be causing a deficient elimination of the pigment, therefore producing an increase in direct bilirubin, should be evaluated. These changes are usually related to:
- Hepatic cirrhosis
- Drug toxicity
- Gallbladder cancer
- Biliary stricture
- Other liver diseases, such as hepatitis.
High bilirubin: risks
On the other hand, the increase in indirect bilirubin implies problems in the blood that precipitate the premature and excessive destruction of red blood cells. In some situations, it is considered normal, such as in newborn babies whose livers are not yet able to process bilirubin in the blood properly. Other cases where there is excessive destruction of red blood cells are:
- Hemolytic anemia.
- Abnormal immune system responses.
- Blood type incompatibilities between mother and child or donor and recipient.
- Even vitamin deficiencies.
Symptoms of elevated total bilirubin
The increase in total bilirubin implies the appearance of a very characteristic sign, which is the yellowing of the skin, the mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes due to the excessive accumulation of pigment, which is called jaundice. Other signs are:
- Dark-colored urine
- Light-colored stools
- Depending on what is causing the increase in bilirubin levels, there may be pain and inflammation in the liver, such as in cases of hepatitis or gallstones.
High bilirubin: treatment
When a blood test shows elevated bilirubin, the most important thing you should do is see your doctor determine what is causing the problem. Differentiating between total and fragmented bilirubin can help relate the issue to the liver or a blood problem. In this way, you can be referred to the appropriate specialist to treat one or another condition.
You can help improve bilirubin levels by staying adequately hydrated, drinking around 2 liters of water a day, and taking cleansing preparations to eliminate toxins that accumulate in the body. Controlling the food you eat can help if you eliminate fats since they can aggravate the symptoms by not being able to be processed correctly, and even more important is to avoid alcohol consumption since it has a direct impact on the liver.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.