HEALTH TESTS
August 24th, 2021
3 mins read

How a Jaundice Test Can Help Assess Bilirubin Levels in Newborn and Adults

Jaundice is more common in infants but can affect adults too

A jaundice test checks the bilirubin levels in the blood

Conjugated and unconjugated are two different types of bilirubin

According to CDC, around 60% of all babies have jaundice [1]. Some newborns are prone to severe jaundice and elevated bilirubin levels. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment in the blood produced with the breakdown of red blood cells. The liver collects the bilirubin and extracts it out of the body by changing its chemical composition. You can determine it by doing Bilirubin Test.

A bilirubin test determines the quantity of jaundice bilirubin level in the blood. The test helps doctors find the causes behind anemia, jaundice, and liver diseases. Although jaundice is more common in infants, it can affect adults too. Read on to find out the safe bilirubin levels in newborns and adults, and to better understand the jaundice test. 

Why is a Bilirubin Test or Jaundice Test done? 

  • Monitor and diagnose bile duct and liver diseases including cirrhosis, hepatitis, and gallstones 
  • Determine sickle cell disease and other disorders such as hemolytic anemia [2] 
  • Investigate jaundice in adults and infants, a condition that causes yellowing of skin and eyes due to high bilirubin level 
  • Assess anemia due to destruction of red blood cells 
  • Check or follow up on treatment
  • Find out any suspected toxicity due to drugs 

Additional Read: What are the good foods for Liver?

4 tips to lower bilirubin

How is Bilirubin Level Checked through Bilirubin Test? 

Bilirubin level is checked by obtaining a blood sample from your body. A small amount of blood is collected in a test tube by inserting a needle into your arm or hand. Your doctor may ask you to not eat or drink anything apart from water or avoid certain medications for several hours before the test. A bilirubin test will measure your total bilirubin and may also determine levels of the two types of bilirubin.

Unconjugated or indirect bilirubin is created from the breakdown of red blood cells and travels to the liver through the blood. Conjugated or direct bilirubin is one that undergoes a chemical change and travels to the intestines before being extracted out of the body [3].

Some of the other tests that may be done along with the bilirubin test include liver function test, albumin and total protein test, complete blood count test, and prothrombin time test [4]. 

Additional Read: Symptoms of Liver Damage

What are the Normal Bilirubin Levels? 

Normal bilirubin levels in newborns within 24 hours of birth are below 5.2 mg/dL. However, high bilirubin level is common in newborns due to birthing stress. As a result, bilirubin level for 7 days baby will rise above 5 mg/dL and may have some kind of jaundice. Normal values of direct bilirubin in adults and older children are generally between 0-0.4 mg/dL. Normal values of total bilirubin are up to 1.2 mg/dL for adults and between 0.3-1.0 mg/dL for those below 18 years of age.

Doctor and Liver Hologram, liver pain and vital signs. Concept for technology, hepatitis treatment, donation, online diagnostics

Jaundice in Infants: What are the types? 

High bilirubin levels and jaundice can become severe in infants. Some common causes include infections, premature birth, lack of proteins, and abnormal blood cell shapes.

Jaundice in infants can be of three types as follows,

  • Physiological jaundice
  • It is caused by a delay in liver functioning and is generally not serious. It can happen between 2-4 days post birth.
  • Breastfeeding jaundice
  • This can be caused during the first week due to low milk supply of the mother or poor nursing.
  • Breast milk jaundice
  • This can be caused by some substances in breast milk and happens after 2-3 weeks of a baby’s birth. 

Additional Read: How to spot Fatty Liver?

What is the available High Bilirubin Treatment? 

There are no specific drugs for treating high bilirubin levels unless for infections, tumors, or blockage. Doctors target the underlying cause for high bilirubin treatment. However, there are some preventive measures which you can take. Limit your alcohol consumption, avoid getting infected from hepatitis, and manage your weight and cholesterol levels.

While this condition is serious, you can do a jaundice test at home based on the symptoms. They include yellow skin and eyes, change in colors of urine and stools, itchiness, and bruises on the skin. However, it is always better to consult a doctor for proper medication and treatment. Book an online doctor consultation on the Bajaj Finserv Health platform and address all your healthcare needs. Schedule a jaundice test online, learn how to maintain normal bilirubin levels, find the best doctors in your area, and access offers on clinics with ease.

Related Articles

View All

Blood Group Test: How it is Done and What are the Different Blood Types?

Health Tests

Blood Group Test: How it is Done and What are the Different Blood Types?

3 mins

Why is it Important to Know When Your WBC Count is High or Low?

Health Tests

Why is it Important to Know When Your WBC Count is High or Low?

3 mins

RBC Count Test: Why is it Important and What is the RBC Normal Range?

Health Tests

RBC Count Test: Why is it Important and What is the RBC Normal Range?

3 mins

Significant Signs of Low Sperm Count and 3 Major Types of Causes

Health Tests

Significant Signs of Low Sperm Count and 3 Major Types of Causes

3 mins

What is an MRI Scan and What are its Side Effects? Important MRI Uses

Health Tests

What is an MRI Scan and What are its Side Effects? Important MRI Uses

3 mins

Trending Articles

View All

Do Health Insurance Companies Offer Mental Health Coverage? What is its Importance?

Aarogya Care

Do Health Insurance Companies Offer Mental Health Coverage? What is its Importance?

3 mins

Do You Know That Your Body’s Natural Killer Cells Protect You? Here’s How

Immunity

Do You Know That Your Body’s Natural Killer Cells Protect You? Here’s How

3 mins

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Why it is Significant and What You Can Do

Cancer

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Why it is Significant and What You Can Do

3 mins

6 Delicious Non-dairy Milks to Include in Your Diet for Good Health!

Nutrition

6 Delicious Non-dairy Milks to Include in Your Diet for Good Health!

3 mins

7 Best Drinks to Lower Blood Pressure: What You Need to Know

Hypertension

7 Best Drinks to Lower Blood Pressure: What You Need to Know

3 mins