There are three forms of bilirubin, unconjugated bilirubin that does not dissolve in water, travels through the bloodstream to the liver, and is changed into the soluable form known as direct bilirubin, that can be measured in the blood, and total blood bilirubin, the combination of direct and indirect bilirubin together.
High levels of bilirubin may present with yellow coloration of the skin, tissues, and whites of the eyes in what is commonly known as jaundice caused by hemolytic anemia, that may lead to blood disorders, bile duct blockages in the small intestine, hepatitis, and kernicterus, damages to the center of their brains, physical abnormalities, hearing losses, muscles moving through their eyes, the need for blood transfusions, and death in newborn babies.
The bilirubin test is used to check patients for liver functions and diseases such as cirrhosis inflammations or scarrings typically caused by excessive alcohol consumption or chronic viral hepatitis, the effects different medications may have on damaging the liver, to check for gallstones, pancreatic tumors, and causes of red blood cell destructions, or to determine if neonatal jaundice babies require phototherapy treatments. Adults who are pregnant, on blood thinners, are allergic to any medications, or are on any other medicines should inform their doctors before taking bilirubin tests.
Typically caused by such things as increased bilirubin conjugations, defective bilirubin eliminations from their bodies, defective hepatic intakes of bilirubin, particularly in blood plasma, the breakdown of fetal hemoglobin being replaced by adult hemoglobin, and by excessive production of bilirubin by their immature hepatic pathways containing a bilirubin level of 85 mico moles per liter or more, neonatal jaundice can clinically manifest in newborns creating a yellow face that extends downward to their chest and to their extremities.
Adult Jaundice is caused by hyperbilirubinemia, the increased levels of bilirubin in the blood and in extracellular fluids, that exceeds 1.5 grams per liter, and may be pre-hepatic, occurring before reaching the liver, hepatic, in the liver, or post-hepatic, after the conjunction of bilirubin in the liver.
Bilirubin may be converted into colorless urobilinogen formed by bacteria in the intestines, then into stercobilinogen in the stomach giving feces its brown color, or reabsorbed by intestinal cells, transported to the kidneys, and eliminated as urobulin, giving urine its normal color.
This Article was compiled from several websites that provide much more information about bilirubin including: