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Bilirubin Test

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BILIRUBIN TEST DEFINITION

Bilirubin is the orange-yellow pigment found in your blood that's a natural byproduct of normal red blood cell breakdown and is most apparent in the coloring of your waste products, namely your urine and stool. In turn, the bilirubin test checks your bilirubin levels in your blood. It's carried through the bloodstream and passes to your liver.

BILIRUBIN TEST PURPOSE

There's a need to check your bilirubin levels because too much of it may indicate liver disease or damage. To be more specific, bilirubin testing may be done in order to investigate jaundice (yellowing of the whites on your eyes), evaluate suspected drug toxicity, gauge how well a treatment is going, detect increased red blood cell destruction, and monitor or detect liver disease.

BILIRUBIN TEST RISKS

Because bilirubin tests involve taking blood from a vein in your arm, the main risks linked to this procedure is soreness or hematoma (bruising) at the puncture site from which your blood was drawn.

BILIRUBIN TEST PREPARATION REQUIRED

You can eat and drink normally before taking the test. There's no need to fast within twenty-four hours before taking the test, and it doesn't matter whether or not you perform heavy exercise an hour before the test. It's a simple blood test that requires little to no preparation.
BILIRUBIN TEST
Image: BILIRUBIN TEST

BILIRUBIN TEST PROCEDURE

A bilirubin test is done via a blood sample drawn from you by your attending physician. It may include tying a band around your upper arm and you making a fist to make your vein stand out more.

BILIRUBIN TEST COMPLICATIONS

The typical worst-case scenario complications from having your blood drawn for a bilirubin test include excessive bleeding, feeling faint, lightheadedness, blood accumulation under your skin, and infection (to be clear, whenever the skin is broken, there's always a chance for infection).

BILIRUBIN TEST SIDE EFFECTS

For a short while, you may feel an aching, tender, and throbbing sensation on the puncture site where the doctor drew blood from you, but aside from that and the potential risks and complications outlined below, a bilirubin test is relatively free from immediate side effects.

BILIRUBIN TEST RESULTS

0.1 to 1 milligram per deciliter of total bilirubin is the normal amount for direct plus indirect (subtracting direct bilirubin from the total bilirubin), while 0 to 0.3 milligram per deciliter for direct. Elevated levels may indicate disease or liver damage (e.g., hepatitis or a blocked bile duct) while lower than normal isn't usually a cause for concern.

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