The liver is one of the most complicated organs of the human body. It is also one of the most vital organs of the human body. The liver performs a number of different tasks which include tasks associated with bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow colored pigment that is found in the human body. Bilirubin is released in the body when red blood cells die. Red blood cells are normally supposed to die when they pass their usable life span. This process is known as hemolysis. Under normal circumstances, the bilirubin released as a result of this process is then passed through the liver where it gets processed. Unprocessed bilirubin is known as indirect or unconjugated bilirubin. Processed bilirubin is known as direct or conjugated bilirubin.
When an individual suffers from a condition associated with elevated conjugated bilirubin or abnormal conjugated bilirubin, he or she is most likely suffering from problems associated with the bile delivery system. Bile is a digestive substance produced in the liver. A large amount of the bilirubin passing through the liver is excreted in the form of bile. This fluid is added to the small intestines when food passes in from the stomach. Bile helps the body process fatty foods. It is therefore important for digestion. When there is a blockage in the bile ducts, the patient may report some pain. This is also the reason why the patient’s blood test may show elevated conjugated bilirubin. Elevated conjugated bilirubin is one of the symptoms that are used to determine if the patient is suffering from a bile duct problem.
Bile delivery occurs throughout the day. Bile is stored in the gall bladder until it is needed for digestion. During digestion both the liver and the gall bladder release bile. This combination of bile allows the quantity of bile to be sufficient for digestion. Furthermore, the concentration of bile in the gall bladder increases as bile waits there for disposal.
Elevated conjugated bilirubin will also most likely result in elevated total bilirubin. Elevated total bilirubin occurs when the combination of unconjugated and conjugated bilirubin are measured for quantity. Elevated conjugated bilirubin should lead to increased total bilirubin. If the patient has normal conjugated bilirubin levels and elevated indirect bilirubin levels, it is a sign either of excessive hemolysis or of a failure of the liver as it struggles to cope with the normal rate of hemolysis. The level of direct, indirect and total bilirubin will be measured as part of a standard liver panel test.More articles from the General Articles Category