If bilirubin levels are high, substances formed when bile is broken down may accumulate, causing itching all over the body. But jaundice itself causes few other symptoms in adults. However, in newborns with jaundice high bilirubin levels (hyperbilirubinemia) can cause a form of brain damage called kernicterus.
Hereof, what does high bilirubin in adults mean?
High bilirubin levels in adults usually means that there may be an underlying problem involving the red blood cells, liver, or gallbladder; however, other problems also may be found. Symptoms of high bilirubin levels in newborns are skin and/or scleral jaundice. Risks associated with a bilirubin test are minor.
What causes high levels of bilirubin?
Some conditions can cause bilirubin levels to be high before it reaches the liver. This is called the pre-hepatic or "pre-liver" phase and it can be caused by hemolytic anemia and reabsorption of internal pools of blood. Hemolytic anemia happens when too many red blood cells are broken down.
What does it mean when total bilirubin is high?
A bilirubin test is used to detect an increased level in the blood. It may be used to help determine the cause of jaundice and/or help diagnose conditions such as liver disease, hemolytic anemia, and blockage of the bile ducts.