Does this test have other names?
Total serum bilirubin, TSB
What is a total bilirubin test?
A total 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.
In general, most of the bilirubin is by a healthy liver. When you experience liver damage or failure, bilirubin may come out from your liver and go into your blood. The deposition of a large amount of bilirubin in your blood can lead to jaundice, a disease in which your skin and eyes color turn yellow. Your provider may diagnose liver disease by noticing signs and symptoms of jaundice disease besides a bilirubin blood test.
What is the use of the bilirubin test?
A total bilirubin test identifies liver problems, including hepatitis or blockages like gallstones. The test is most common to identify jaundice disease in newborns. Healthy babies experience jaundice due to a lack of ability in their livers to remove enough bilirubin from their blood. Jaundice in newborn babies is generally not harmful and goes away after a few weeks. In infants, high bilirubin levels may result in brain damage in a few cases.
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 total bilirubin test?
Your provider may recommend the bilirubin test if you are experiencing symptoms of jaundice and liver disease. You can place an online order for a total bilirubin test at UmbrellaMD. Following are signs and symptoms, such as
- Yellowish color of skin with whitish eyes (Jaundice)
- The dark yellow color of the urine
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Stools having a light gray or clay-colored
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or swelling in the belly
The test may also use to monitor the already ongoing liver disease. 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 direct 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.
What is the procedure of bilirubin test?
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 specific instructions provided by your lab care.
For a 24-hour urine sample, first, you flush out all the urine on the first day of the morning and collect your urine in a sample container for the next 24 hours.
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 bilirubin test results?
Some factors that may affect the total bilirubin test results include extensive exercise, pregnancy, vitamin C, fasting for a long time, androgen hormones, and specific medicines.
Is there any risk in the bilirubin blood test?
A blood test has few risks to your health. You can feel slight pain when the needle injects into your vein and experience low bleeding or bruising. But these symptoms do not last for a long time.
What else do I need to know about the bilirubin blood test?
A bilirubin test is the first step to measuring your liver health. Your provider may recommend additional blood tests to find out the possible cause of a liver disease or a red blood cell disorder disease. The tests may include
- Liver protein tests (albumin and total protein)
- Liver function tests are a combination of tests that determine different elements in your blood.
- Urine tests
- A liver biopsy requires a sample of your liver tissue for microscopic examination.
- An ultrasound
What do total bilirubin test results mean?
The recommended range in adults of the total bilirubin test lies at 0.1 to 1.2 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). A higher value than 2.5 mg/dL bilirubin levels may present in adults already experiencing jaundice. Bilirubin levels greater than 15 mg/dL may lead to health problems in newborns. Bilirubin does not show up in the urine of healthy people.
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.
You can make an online appointment with a doctor to get detailed information on your test results. You can register here to learn more about laboratory tests and e-consultations.