Elevated Bilirubin Levels in Adults
Bilirubin is a protein that makes the blood have its red color and aids in bringing oxygen from the lungs to the red blood cells and the rest of the body. It comes out as a byproduct after the breakdown of hemoglobin, a waste that is removed by the body through the digestive system and one of the components of bile which is secreted by the liver.
Generally, levels of bilirubin in the body are low. When the levels increase, it is usually a cause of concern since it is a sign of the presence of medical disorders especially those that concern the liver.
Some of the common symptoms experienced by patients that would indicate having high levels of bilirubin include yellowing of the sclera and the skin. Patients will also feel nauseated, always tired, and have dark-colored urine.
Elevated Bilirubin Levels Causes
- Liver Failure
- Infections and diseases of the gallbladder like cholecystitis and having gallstones which obstruct and damage the bile ducts.
- Gilbert Syndrome. This is a common and mild disorder of the liver that affects the processing of bilirubin and is spread through the passing of a mutated gene.
- Liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. Both diseases greatly affect the processing of bilirubin in the liver.
- Mononucleosis. This is an infectious viral disease that is also commonly known as glandular fever.
- Hematoma. This occurs when blood accumulates in a specific area and is observed by appearance of bruises and is mainly caused by trauma.
- Dublin Johnson Syndrome. This is often termed as an increase of conjugated bilirubin and characterized by the decrease in the production of enzymes in the liver.
- Medications such as pain relievers, antibiotics and birth control pills.
- Allergic reactions towards a type of blood during blood transfusion.
- Blood disorders and diseases like sickle cell anemia and sepsis.
- Tumors in the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts.
- Pancreatic cancer
- Alcohol and drug abuse and smoking.
Elevated Bilirubin Levels Treatment
Treatment procedures depend on the underlying cause of the condition. Below are some of the widely used methods in managing elevated bilirubin levels.
- Surgery and liver transplant are needed when the liver is severely affected and to remove gall stones in the gall bladder.
- Drinking barley water many times in a day can also help.
- Patients should avoid using any kind of drugs, drinking alcoholic beverages, and smoking. Alcohol intake when bilirubin levels are high has been proven to be fatal.
- Cancer causes should be treated according to the complexity of the disease.
- Doctors may prescribe medications that fight liver diseases.