What is bilirubin?
Bilirubin is a waste product that is formed as a result of the breakdown of hemoglobin, the red blood pigment, in the body. When red blood cells break down, hemoglobin is released, which is then converted to bilirubin in the cup's liver. Bilirubin is transported in the blood to the liver, where it is bound to glucuronic acid and excreted in the bile. The bile, which contains bilirubin, is transported to the intestine and contributes to the breakdown of fat in the digestive system. In the intestine, bilirubin is converted to urobilinogen, which gives the stool its characteristic brownish color.
Bilirubin is analyzed because it is an important marker in assessing liver function and to diagnose various diseases related to the liver and biliary tract. By measuring the levels of bilirubin in the blood, you can get an answer to a possible deviation or imbalance in production.
What does a high value of bilirubin mean
High levels of bilirubin can indicate problems such as liver diseases such as hepatitis or liver cirrhosis, bile duct obstruction, gallstones, liver damage caused by drugs or toxins, or other diseases that affect bile production. In some cases, alcohol can also affect the bilirubin level, especially if the consumption is excessive and long-term, which makes bilirubin extra interesting to analyze with long-term alcohol consumption.
What does a low value of bilirubin mean
Low concentration of bilirubin is often interpreted as good and rarely requires further investigation or treatment. Low levels of bilirubin are considered normal and can be a result of several factors such as; healthy liver function, normal variation and faster metabolism of bilirubin.
Bilirubin analysis can be included as part of a routine health check or in specific testing for suspected liver disease, jaundice or in connection with an alcohol consumption test. The results of the bilirubin analysis can provide you with valuable information for diagnosis, treatment follow-up and monitoring.