Elevated Bilirubin Level

Patient

Q: I just had a blood test for a life insurance policy and was in the lab range or "ideal" on most everything. However, my Bilirubin Total level was 1.47 MG/DL and the lab range is 0.1-1.2. I am a non-smoking, 38-year-old vegan female in good health. I do not have any yellowing of the skin or eyes as I am reading about with elevated levels of this. Is this level considered very high? Should I be concerned and get any further testing done? Thank you!

Doctor

A:   Normal ranges of bilirubin vary from different laboratories, but the level that you have indicated is slightly elevated. The clinical presentation of an elevated bilirubin level is jaundice (yellow discolouration of the skin and sclera) but this will only be present with levels greater than 2 or 3mg/dL. If the bilirubin is the only abnormal blood result, I would advise repeating the blood sample, in case of lab error. If the bilirubin level is consistently high, you will require further investigation with full liver function tests, direct and indirect bilirubin level and you may require an ultrasound scan of the abdomen. An isolated elevated bilirubin level if present, in addition to normal liver function tests, may lead to a diagnosis of an inherted condition known as Gilbert’syndrome.

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