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DrNowicki
DrNowicki, Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 687
Experience:  >7yrsPrivate practice, gen'l family practice;focus on treating the cause of symptoms w/natural meds
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My bilirubin has been hovering aroun 1.7 on my last three

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My bilirubin has been hovering aroun 1.7 on my last three blood tests. I am social drinker and I usually drink wine or liquor 1 to 2 times per week with maybe 3 to 4 drinks. Are these levels safe? What do these billirubin levels mean. At what level is considered failure, and does drinking alcohol the night before the blood test affect the test?

Hi there.

Elevated bilirubin without clinical symptoms (jaundice - yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, nausea, decreased appetite, skin rash/itching) or change in any other lab values is not significant. There is a condition called Gilbert's syndrome which is used to describe individuals who only have elevated bilirubin. This condition does not usually require treatment. You can find more information about Gilbert's here. Elevated bilirubin becomes concerning when accompanied with other symptoms and/or elevated liver function tests. Elevated levels alone are not concerning.

That said, if you do experience jaundice, skin itching, nausea or vomiting, see your doctor for more thorough liver evaluation including blood tests and possibly imaging srudies (such as ultrasound). Drinking alcohol can lead to liver damage. However, the amounts you are drinking are not excessive.

I would suggest follow up testing to make sure the values are not increasing. But if they appear to be holding steady and you do not have any other symptoms, you most likely have Gilbert's which just requires monitoring annually.

I hope you find this information helpful.

-Dr.John

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