Understanding Bilirubin Direct
What is Bilirubin Direct?
A Bilirubin Direct test measures the direct (conjugated) bilirubin in the blood. This test is suggested if your doctor suspects a liver disorder, such as jaundice, gallstones, hepatitis, etc. It may also be done as a routine health checkup or as part of a liver function test to monitor liver health.
Bilirubin is a byproduct of broken down old or damaged red blood cells. In the liver, it is changed into direct bilirubin, which can be easily eliminated from your body. Bilirubin and other waste products turn into a fluid called bile. The bile is passed out of your body through the intestines. Bilirubin is the pigment that gives bile its distinctive yellow color.
You may need a Bilirubin Direct test if you experience symptoms suggestive of liver problems, such as the yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark-colored urine, belly pain, chest pain, lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting. This test may also be done to monitor jaundice and neonatal jaundice in newborns. Usually, no special preparation is required for this test; eat and drink as per your daily routine.
Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your specific test results. Narrate your complete medical history to help them correlate your clinical and laboratory findings. The test results will help the doctor determine your medical condition, make recommendations for lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, decide whether or not medication will be required to manage your liver health and formulate your overall treatment plan.
What is Bilirubin Direct used for?
A Bilirubin Direct test is done:
As part of routine health checkups.
As part of a liver function test.
To help detect liver diseases, such as jaundice or hemolytic anemia.
To monitor an existing liver disease and its treatment response.
In case of a history of excessive alcohol drinking.
In case of exposure to the hepatitis virus.
To detect and monitor neonatal jaundice.
To find out if there is a blockage in the bile duct.
What does Bilirubin Direct measure?
A Bilirubin Direct test measures the amount of direct or conjugated bilirubin present in your body. Bilirubin is a yellowish byproduct primarily produced when the body breaks down aged RBCs. When the RBCs finish their lifespan of 120 days, they break down and pass to the liver. In the liver, direct bilirubin–a form of bilirubin conjugated with glucuronic acid (sugar)–is processed, mixed with bile, and then excreted in the bile ducts and stored in your gallbladder. Finally, the bile is released into the small intestine where it is further broken down and helps digest fat. It is eventually excreted within your stool as a waste product.
Elevated levels of bilirubin can be indicative of various liver or bile duct issues. Additionally, higher bilirubin levels might result from an increased breakdown of red blood cells in the body.
Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bilirubin Direct
Frequently Asked Questions about Bilirubin Direct
Q. Why is a Bilirubin Direct test done?
Q. Is fasting required before a Bilirubin Direct test?
Q. What are the signs and symptoms associated with high direct bilirubin levels?
Q. What causes high direct bilirubin levels?
Q. How can I lower my high bilirubin levels?
Book Bilirubin Direct at-home
- Direct Bilirubin [Internet]. University of Rochester Medical Center; [Accessed 27 Jan. 2023]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=bilirubin_direct
- Witek K, Ścisłowska J, Turowski D, Lerczak K, Lewandowska-Pachecka S, Pokrywka A. Total bilirubin in athletes, determination of reference range. Biol Sport. 2017;34(1):45-48. [Accessed 27 Jan. 2023]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5377560/
- Bilirubin [Internet]. ScienceDirect; 2010 [Accessed 27 Jan. 2023]. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/bilirubin
- Total Bilirubin (Blood) [Internet]. University of Rochester Medical Center; [Accessed 27 Jan. 2023]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=total_bilirubin_blood