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Bilirubin - description and reference ranges

What is it?

Bilirubin is a yellow-ish (or orange) substance that forms naturally as waste, when blood red cells break up. It is then processed by the liver and discarded from the body.

Bilirubin level monitoring can be used to diagnose liver condition, as well as jaundice.

InterpretationBilirubin is a waste product that is made during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. It is excreted from the liver into the gut in bile, a substance that helps to digest fat. Bilirubin may go up in many kinds of liver disease – it is high bilirubin levels that cause the yellowing of the skin and eyes known as jaundice – but high levels are particularly associated with anything that obstructs the outflow of the liver, for example gallstones.

Some people always have a slightly high bilirubin level due to a condition called Gilbert’s Syndrome which is harmless.

Reference ranges

If your indicative bilirubin level is lower than the reference range for our laboratory:

Generally, there are no health conditions that cause low bilirubin levels.

Please discuss this result with your GP if you are concerned.

If your indicative bilirubin level is higher than the reference range for our laboratory:

Having high bilirubin level in your blood is called hyperbilirubinemia. It is commonly a sign of an underlying medical condition.

With bilirubin slightly out of high range you may be suffering from jaundice, which is a yellowish color in your eyes and skin.

Please discuss this result with your GP.

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