High bilirubin levels indicate that you might be having a condition called jaundice and it is necessary that you conduct some further tests to confirm it. High levels of bilirubin also indicate that your liver is not able to remove the bilirubin on time because of some blockage in the bile ducts, or due to the fact that you may be suffering from liver diseases such as cirrhosis or acute hepatitis. Sometimes high bilirubin is caused due to problems that are inherited.
Generally, newborns have a high level of bilirubin. This is when they are between one to three days old. This happens because the newborns are not able to process the extra bilirubin as the excessive red blood cells that the child is born with are broken down at birth and the liver is not fully matured.
Bilirubin in adults and children is measured to be able to figure out if they have diseases such as cirrhosis, gall stone and hepatitis. Your bilirubin levels may be high if you have sickle cell disease and other causes of hemolytic anemia.
It could be that your doctor has asked you to go in for a bilirubin test because of some abnormal liver function. A test is also necessary if you show some indications of jaundice, if you are a compulsive drinker, if you have had some exposure to hepatitis viruses, or there is some suspected drug toxicity.
Some other indications of high levels of bilirubin could be urine that is dark and amber colored, a nauseous feeling, some abdominal pain and fatigue.
In newborns, excessive bilirubin levels could lead to some damage in the developing brain cells which in turn could cause mental retardation, and some learning disability. There could also be some level of hearing loss and problems with eye movement. Care therefore has to be taken to ensure that the levels of bilirubin in a child do not get excessively high.
In adults and children high levels could mean that there is some level of liver damage or disease. It can also help in monitoring the progress of jaundice. High levels could also be due to hemolytic sickle disease or some kind of transfusion reaction. If there is some elevation of conjugated bilirubin it could be the result of some liver blockage, trauma to the liver, alcohol abuse, cirrhosis, or a drug reaction.
To sum up, if you have excessive levels of bilirubin it is an indication that you have some medical condition that needs to be evaluated and treated.
Submitted by N on April 14, 2010 at 01:17