Low bilirubin: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment


  • Direct bilirubin (conjugated)
  • Indirect bilirubin (free, unconjugated)
  • Normal values
  • Analysis of bilirubin in urine
  • Low bilirubin
  • Why does it increase
  • How to lower bilirubin
  • Bilirubin in pregnancy

It was Juan Luis Guerra, the well-known Dominican singer born in 1957 and winner of 18 Latin Grammies, who made the bilirubin back in the year 1990, which he published on his albumPink bachata and that managed to be ranked 31st of the EU Latino. Since then, he has managed to get many people to know this parameter that we traditionally find in blood tests that we perform routinely every so often.

Although at that time it became a popular song with certain comic characteristics, the truth is that when we are faced with a elevated bilirubin It is not something funny. On the contrary, it is a symptom or sign of the existence of some type of pathology or condition of the liver, pancreas or gallbladder.

And what are the causes of high bilirubin? Actually they are varied, although the most common is due to the presence of liver damage. In fact, the bilirubin analysis becomes a good tool to evaluate the possible existence of Hepatic injury, in the same way that the examination of transaminases in blood.

For example, it may increase as a result of a condition that is causing liver damage, such as chronic hepatitis, fatty liver, liver necrosis, or even excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.

But liver damage is not the only cause. As we mentioned earlier, it can also be due to diseases of the gallbladder or pancreas. Especially, it can arise as a result of gallstones, by obstruction in the bile ducts, or by the existence of some alteration of the channels of the pancreas.

But, did you know that we can also find ourselves before decreased bilirubin values? It is what is medically known as low bilirubin, and today we want to discover a little more about it.

What is low bilirubin? What does it consist of?

Bilirubin is a yellow-orange pigment that is the result of the breakdown of red blood cells. It treats, therefore, of a liquid that is the result of a normal and healthy process of destruction or decomposition of aged cells (in this case, the red globules, in charge of providing oxygen to the different tissues of our body).

The process by which the bilirubin is eliminated from our body is the following: it circulates normally through the blood, goes to the liver where it is eliminated through the bile ducts. Then, it is stored in the gallbladder to be released in the small intestine (for the digestion of fats in the form of bile) or be eliminated through the faeces.

As its name indicates, Low bilirubin occurs when we have decreased bilirubin values ​​in the blood test, below what is considered normal. Normal values ​​of direct bilirubin range from 0 to 0.3 mg / dL, while total bilirubin should be around 0.3 to 1.9 mg / dL. Therefore, low bilirubin will appear when the total bilirubin values ​​are below 0.3 mg / dL.

It is known that when bilirubin rises, especially at a higher level of 2.5 mg / dL, it tends to produce jaundice(yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes). But what happens when it is diminished?

Causes of low bilirubin

Cardiovascular diseases

Although it is not as well known, did you know that low levels of bilirubin can be a first symptom or sign of the presence of a coronary heart disease? These are diseases that affect the normal coronary flow, as well as the different microvascular coronary functions.

In fact, it is known medically that when bilirubin is found, the risk of suffering from some type of cardiovascular disease increases, especially in those cardiovascular pathologies that are especially related to what is known as oxidative stress (A good example is peripheral arterial disease).

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

It's about a type of depression that appears as a consequence of the arrival of the seasons of the year. Although medically known as such, it is a kind of seasonal depression that is usually known popularly as autumnal asthenia or spring asthenia(depending on the season of the year in which we are).

It is not known why, but it is known that a person with low levels of bilirubin may have a higher risk of suffering from a seasonal affective disorder.

Consumption of certain drugs

Bilirubin may decrease as a result of taking some drugs or medications. This occurs especially in certain medications that increase the metabolic rate of the liver (phenobarbital and other painkillers).

On the other hand, it can also go down by the consumption of stimulants of the nervous system (theophylline or caffeine). As well as for the consumption of penicillin or vitamin C.

Symptoms of low bilirubin

While high bilirubin can cause jaundice, what happens when it is decreased? It can cause sudden and intense headache, loss of balance and dizziness, depression, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating and breathing.

In addition, we must bear in mind that this sign or signal is actually a symptom of another disease or pathology, so it may be accompanied by angina pectoris, cardiac arrest, sensation of weakness and numbness of some parts of our body.

How is it treated?

In most cases bilirubin reaches its normal levels naturally and without medical treatment. However, depending on the cause that caused its decrease, treatment may be required. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor. ThemesGallbladder

LOW Bilirubin Levels - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment (June 2024)