Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Gilbert's syndrome

Gilbert's syndrome is a common hereditary cause of increased bilirubin. The main symptom is jaundice caused by elevated levels of unconjugated bilirubin in the blood. Reasonable levels of bilirubin can be beneficial to the organism. Evidence is being gathered that suggests bilirubin can protect tissues against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Statistical analysis of people with high normal or slightly elevated bilirubin levels in blood shows that they have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. In infants it is not very common for the spleen to destroy red blood cells faster than the liver can conjugate the bilirubin. The effect of this would be increased bilirubin levels in the blood plasma.

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