Hepatitis C, What Is Bilirubin?, Current Information On Hepatitis C & treatments for the medical professional and patient. | Hepatitis Central

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What Is Bilirubin?

Bilirubin is a breakdown product of hemaglobin, the substance in blood that carries oxygen. Normally when blood cells become old they are trapped and destroyed by the spleen. When this occurs, the hemaglobin must be broken down in the liver to bilirubin in order to be disposed of. Bilirubin is eventually excreted in the bile and leaves the body in the feces.

What Is The Normal Level Of Bilirubin?

The normal level depends on the individual laboratory. Most laboratories consider a level of 1.1 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or lower to be normal.

What Happens When The Bilirubin Is Too High?

When the bilirubin level reaches about 3 mg/dl the white parts of the eyes become yellow (“icterus”), the urine becomes dark, and the skin becomes yellow (“jaundice”). Patients with high levels of bilirubin also experience itching.