Most of us have heard a number of theories about the bilirubin levels, but are not really sure what the normal levels of these are in adults and kids. Knowing the normal levels will help you how to lower bilirubin levels the natural way as it keeps you healthy and active. For those who are not aware of what bilirubin is, it is an orange-yellow colored bile pigment which is formed when the red blood cells break down and get excreted through the bile.
Role of Bilirubin in Human Body
Bilirubin acts as the pathway that helps to break down the heme present in vertebrates. This process is necessary as it clears the body to clear itself of the waste which often arises from the damage of old red blood cells. Initially, it is the hemoglobin that gets stripped from the heme and this undergoes porphyrin catabolism, the kind of process depends as to where the breakdown has occurred. Like for example, the molecules that get excreted through the urine are different from those located in the feces.
As mentioned earlier, bilirubin gets excreted via urine and bile and increased levels of the same can indicate few diseases. The increased levels are also the reason for the yellow colored bruises and the yellow color of jaundice.
Low Bilirubin Levels
In many cases, the low levels of bilirubin are not monitored as studies show that the risk involved for low levels is pretty less. For example, the results, like total bilirubin level less than 0.4 is not at a concern.
Normal Bilirubin Levels
Likewise, when the bilirubin levels are normal, it shows that there is no disease found. Also, the normal bilirubin level values often lie in between various ranges and in between the lower and the upper limit.
High Bilirubin Levels or Hyperbilirubinemia
The high direct bilirubin levels often help in the liver function diagnosis and the post hepatic jaundice. Post hepatic jaundice can be caused due to the obstruction of the bilirubin in the bile ducts and this can happen due to tumors, viral hepatitis, gallstones and also due to various drug reactions.
The high indirect bilirubin levels also help in the diagnosis of the pre-hepatic jaundice, which mostly occurs due to rapid hemolysis of the red blood cells in both adults and infants. This can be caused due to hemolytic or pernicious anemia, a reaction to blood transfusion, or Cirrhosis. This is what makes it important to keep a track of the bilirubin levels in newborns.
How To Check Bilirubin Levels?
Bilirubin levels can be known using a bilirubin test where blood, urine and amniotic fluid is examined. Infants are checked using a scanning where a device is used to check the levels of bilirubin.
In general, anyone who is undergoing the bilirubin test is advised to fast for a few hours before the test is conducted. Any exercise has to be avoided as it can increase the levels.
How To Lower Bilirubin Levels?
There are many ways in which you can lower bilirubin levels naturally. Some of the home remedies are mentioned below.
- Patients suffering from jaundice are to be given fresh fruit juice to start with. Fresh juices made of vegetables can be added to. Diet needs to consist of simple and light liquid food. Make sure that the food is fat and oil free.
- Make sure to drink a lot of boiled water.
- Stop the intake of things like tobacco or alcohol as they are very hard on the liver.
- Expose yourself to morning sun rays as the rays have ultra violet light which helps lower the bilirubin levels.
Some of the Other Natural Remedies You Can Try Are
- Taking a hot and a high herb tea at least twice in a day.
- If you have a fever, try having a glass of water with lemon. Take this hourly.
- Take about 10 gms of Turmeric powder and add about 50 gms of pure yoghurt to this and divide this into two equal parts. You can have one part during the morning and the second part in the evenings. Continue taking this for 15 days.
- Try to suck sugarcane at least for three times a day. It helps to nourish the body and clears the urine too.
Just follow the above remedies along with proper medication to lower the bilirubin levels.
Causes of High Bilirubin
There can be various reasons for the cause of high bilirubin levels. High indirect bilirubin levels are often seen in people who are suffering from hemolytic anemia. The high levels can also occur in infants due to birth immaturity or due to a condition called hemolytic jaundice, which occurs when there is a RH incompatibility between the baby and the mother.
High direct bilirubin levels can be caused due to the elevated indirect bilirubin levels. This can occur where there is an obstructive jaundice. There can also be a spike in bilirubin levels due to hepatic disease.
However, there are also situations when the patient has high bilirubin levels, but there is no visible disease. Some of the examples for the same are the Gilbert Syndrome, the Crigler Najjar Syndrome etc.
Also, people, adults or kids suffering from high bilirubin levels need not panic, as they can opt for bilirubin treatment at home, thanks to the advancement in the medical field.
Symptoms of High Bilirubin
The common symptoms of high bilirubin in adults are normally yellowish color of the eye and itching. Some of the other symptoms can also be due to some underlying conditions.
- Anemia – Symptoms in such cases are pallor, weakness and jaundice.
- Viral Hepatitis – Symptoms in case of viral hepatitis are mild fever, fatigue, nausea, muscle ache and jaundice.
- Biliary Obstruction – Some of the symptoms and signs of the same are nausea, itching, dark coloured urine, vomiting, light coloured stools and jaundice.
The symptoms can vary in case of an infant where the indication can start with the jaundice of the skin starting with the forehead first. This later spreads to the trunk and other parts of the body. Some of the other signs are seizures, drowsiness and crying.
Medically Reviewed By
Maanasi specializes in health topics including diet and nutrition. A mother of an untiring seven year old, she enjoys nurturing her love affair with English. She is often found nestled with a book, plopped against a dozen pillows, smiling away at the brink of finishing yet another book of the many dozens, that adorn the shelves of her Mini Library!