High Bilirubin Levels In Adults

Bilirubin is one of the byproduct processed by the liver as a waste. If the liver is not functioning appropriately, accumulation of the bilirubin may go to higher level in the body.

What causes high level of bilirubin in adults?


  • The failure of the liver
  • Infections of the gall bladder
  • Gilbert syndrome
  • Medications like pain killers, birth control pills and antibiotics.
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Blockage of bile ducts
  • Allergy of blood transfusion
  • Hepatitis
  • Sickle cell anemia




There are common symptoms exposed by high level of bilirubin in adults. These symptoms include; yellowing of eyes and the skin, fatigue, dark-colored urine, vomiting and nausea.


To diagnose, blood test is done in order to monitor its level in adults. Urinalysis is not the best method to test bilirubin levels, unless a patient has in one or another conjugated bilirubin.

Males have been found to have lower bilirubin levels compared to females. This research was done the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. It also found that African Americans have lower bilirubin levels compared to other races.


Before treatment is good to note that it is a natural byproduct which results from the breakdown of RBC-red blood cells. It is processed by liver then excreted in the same way like other body waste. Bilirubin is found in the blood but elevated levels will show that the liver is not functioning properly.

The treatment depends on the cause of the elevated bilirubin levels. It includes liver transplant and medical prescription.  Taking medical history is also important. It can assist in pinpointing the source of the increased levels, enabling easy treatment of the disorder.  For instance, the treatment of a person with an alcohol abuse history will be different to the one with no such history. A person with Gilbert’s Syndrome will not require much medical attention compared to the one in which their bile ducts have blocked. Medical conditions are known to increase the bilirubin level in the blood. It is good to avoid habit that may result to elevated bilirubin levels in your body such as drug and alcohol abuse.

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