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Detail Description


Does this test have other names?

Conjugated bilirubin

What is a direct bilirubin test?

A direct bilirubin test measures the amount of bilirubin in your blood or urine. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow substance formed due to the breakdown of red blood cells. It is present in bile, a fluid developed by the liver that helps to digest food. Your liver collects the bilirubin from your blood and changes its chemical composition. Most of the bilirubin passes by your poop in the form of bile.

A type of bilirubin that links specific proteins (albumin) in your blood is called unconjugated or indirect bilirubin. Your body eliminates that type of bilirubin which converts its form in the liver called conjugated or direct bilirubin. It flows from the liver into the small intestine. Your kidneys release small quantities of it through urine. It is the bilirubin that brings yellow color to the urine.

What is the use of the bilirubin test?

A direct bilirubin test identifies liver problems, including hepatitis or blockages like gallstones. The test is most common to identify jaundice disease in newborns. A small quantity of bilirubin in your blood is not a problem. If you experience high bilirubin levels, it can indicate a disorder of red blood cells, jaundice, and liver disease. It shows that your liver does not break down the waste material in a proper way and clear the bilirubin from your blood. The test may also diagnose restriction between the path somewhere from where the bilirubin comes out from your liver and goes into your stool.

When do I need a direct bilirubin test?

Your provider recommends the bilirubin test if you are experiencing symptoms of jaundice and liver disease. Following are signs and symptoms, such as
  • Yellowish color of skin with whitish eyes (Jaundice)
  • The dark yellow color of the urine
  • Stools having a light gray or clay-colored
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or swelling in the belly
  • Tiredness or fatigue

Your provider may also ask for this test to check the probability of liver failure if you take a large amount of alcohol daily. The liver damage continues with time if you drink too much alcohol.

You may also conduct the bilirubin test if your healthcare provider suggests you diagnose these conditions.

Hepatitis - Your liver gets inflamed with different causes, including infection with hepatitis virus and use of excess alcohol. The liver may excrete a high amount of direct and indirect bilirubin into your bloodstream due to the damaged liver cells from hepatitis. It leads to high levels of bilirubin.

Gallstones - Bilirubin or cholesterol can develop stones that stop the bile duct, a tube that flows bile to the small intestine. It leads to an increase of bilirubin in your bloodstream.

Inflammation of the bile duct- High bilirubin levels in your blood can occur due to the inflammation in the bile duct, which transfers bile to the small intestine.

How is the bilirubin test performed?

Your healthcare provider may perform a direct bilirubin test with blood or a urine sample.

For a blood sample

Your provider will collect a blood sample. A small needle will be injected into a vein in your arm to collect the blood in a test tube. Your provider will apply a bandage to your vein. After that, you can return home for daily activities. This test generally finishes within five minutes.

For a urine sample

Your provider may ask for a 24-hour or random urine sample. You have to follow the instructions.

For a 24-hours urine sample, you first have to flush out all the urine on the first day of the morning. Then for the next 24 hours, collect all the urine into a sample container.
For random or spot urine, you can fill the sample container with urine any time you reach the laboratory.

How do I prepare for the test?

For a blood test, you should avoid eating or drinking for at least four hours before the test. Your healthcare provider may also suggest you avoid the intake of any medicines that may affect your test results.
You don’t have to prepare a urine sample.

What factors may affect the test results?

Some factors that may affect the test results include extensive exercise, pregnancy, vitamin C, fasting for a long time, androgen hormones, and specific medicines.

What are the risks involved in the test?

A blood test has few risks to your health. You can feel a slight pain when the needle goes into your vein. You may also experience these
  • Bleeding may occur when a small needle injects into your vein.
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Lightheaded or fainting

What additional tests may I need to conduct along with this test?

This test is often a part of the liver panel or liver-related tests. Total bilirubin may also use to observe liver conditions. When your liver is damaged, its enzymes reach into the blood. Following are the additional blood tests you may need to conduct:
  • Alkaline phosphatases (ALP)
  • Aspartate transaminase (AST)
  • Alanine transaminase (ALT)
  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)
  • Albumin and total protein test

What do direct bilirubin test results mean?

The test results depend on various factors, including the person’s age, gender, medical history, etc. Every laboratory may have a slightly different reference range. You can understand your test results with your provider.
The recommended range in adults of the direct bilirubin test lies from 0 to 0.3 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Bilirubin may also appear in urine if you have a higher value of it in your blood. Bilirubin does not show up in the urine of healthy people.

What does a higher or lower bilirubin test indicate?

High bilirubin levels may show the following
  • Blood infection
  • Anemia disease
  • Specific cancers or tumors
  • Blockage in the path of bile duct

Low direct bilirubin levels than recommended in your blood are often not a problem.

You can place an online order for a direct bilirubin test at UmbrellaMD. For more laboratory tests and e-consultation services, you can visit here.

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