Dear Ask The Doctor: I recently told my doctor about my bulimia and he sent me for tests. I found out i have high cholesterol (im 23) and in a few months i have to go back and get it retested. He also want my biliruben tested. I looked up what that was and its for liver damage. Is he testing me for it because its related to the high cholesterol, or the bulimia? or is it something totally different?
Dear Patient: Bilirubin is essentially a waste product, formed when red blood cells die and its hemoglobin is broken down. Since bilirubin is poorly soluble in water, it is carried to the liver and made water-soluble in the liver for excretion from the body through the bile, urine and stool. Bilirubin levels are checked for in conditions that cause increased production of billirubin or affected liver functions or excretion of bilirubin. Although cholesterol and bilirubin levels may both be raised with affected liver functions, the reason for ordering a bilirubin test in your case seems to be bulimia which may raise bilirubin levels due to resulting anemia, dehydration and may be overweight.