High Bilirubin In Adults

Submitted by Nic on October 18, 2012

The liver is one of the most complicated organs of the human body. It performs several different functions which include hormone production, toxin elimination and the production of agents that help with the process of digestion. Bilirubin is one of the substances produced in the liver which is released in the bile. Bilirubin is a yellow colored pigment that is responsible for the yellow color that we see in the urine. High bilirubin in adults is the characteristic of a condition known as jaundice. Bilirubin is a substance that is generated in the liver when red blood cells are broken down. The liver does this job in order to remove old red blood cells which will then be replaced by new red blood cells that are produced in the bone marrow.

Literally translated, jaundice refers to yellowness of the body. This is a condition where there is high bilirubin in adults. This high bilirubin flowing in the blood gives the body a yellowish tinge. This yellowish tinge may be visible on the skin. In some cases, the eyes also appear yellowish in color. Jaundice is the visible representation of high bilirubin in adults. However, it is not a disease in itself. The actual medical condition that will affect bilirubin normal levels in adults and be a cause of elevated bilirubin in adults is known as hepatitis. This is a classification of conditions that affect the liver. When the liver is inflamed, bilirubin will begin to flow into the blood at a much higher rate than normal. It is important, at this stage, to conduct a bilirubin blood test to understand what is causing the high bilirubin in adults. The blood test will be conducted with a liver panel test included to check the various parameters of the liver including the actual quantity of bilirubin in the blood. In some cases, high bilirubin in adults may be caused by blockages in the bile ducts. This leads to other symptoms including digestive distress and pain in the abdomen. High bilirubin in adults is therefore not specifically associated with hepatitis.

The elevated bilirubin in adults is tested for using a sample of blood which is drawn from the patient's forearm. The patient should have not eaten for at least 5 hours before the test. The level of bilirubin in the serum is calculated after the blood is sent to a laboratory of analysis. Once this analysis is complete, the cause will also most likely be known and treatment administered.

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