Gilbert's syndrome may be a common, harmless liver condition during which the liver doesn't properly process bilirubin. Bilirubin is produced by the breakdown of red blood cells.
If you've got Gilbert's syndrome — also referred to as constitutional hepatic dysfunction and familial nonhemolytic jaundice — you're born with the condition as a results of an inherited point mutation. You might not know you've got Gilbert's syndrome until it's discovered accidentally, like when a biopsy shows elevated bilirubin levels.
Gilbert's syndrome requires no treatment.
The most frequent sign of Gilbert's syndrome is an occasional yellowish tinge of the skin and therefore the whites of the eyes as a results of the marginally elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood. In people with Gilbert's syndrome, bilirubin levels may increase and jaundice may become apparent because of:
Ø Illness, such as a cold or the flu
Ø Fasting or eating a very low-calorie diet
Ø Strenuous exercise
Ø Lack of sleep
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have jaundice, which has many possible causes.
An abnormal gene you inherit from your parents causes Gilbert's syndrome. The gene normally controls an enzyme that helps break down bilirubin in your liver. When you have an ineffective gene, your blood contains excess amounts of bilirubin because your body doesn't produce enough of the enzyme.
Although it's present from birth, Gilbert's syndrome usually isn't noticed until puberty or later, since bilirubin production increases during puberty. You have an increased risk of Gilbert's syndrome if:
Ø Both your parents carry the abnormal gene that causes the disorder
Ø You're male
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