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A 24-year-old member asked:

What causes the bilirubin to build up?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kamlesh Desai
Family Medicine 23 years experience
Dead blood: It usually depends on age genetics and liver disease. In newborns the liver is not well developed so it cannot process the bilirubin which develops due to dead blood needing to be recycled. In adults there is a genetic cause which is of no significant concern - gilbert's syndrome . But, the other usual culprit could be liver disease due to alcohol abuse, hepatitis, or chronic meds use.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 44 years experience
Three mechanisms: High bilirubin that is almost all unconjugated means hemolysis (tearing up red cells too fast) or gilbert's non-disease. If it is mostly conjugated, the bile ducts are obstructed, perhaps by a stone or tumor. If both are way up, probably the liver cells are being damaged.

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Last updated Nov 27, 2018

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