Have you heard of the illness, Gilbert syndrome before? Well, if not yet then it’s okay. Even this condition is very common and is a harmless genetic condition, there are still some who are not knowledgeable about it. If you want to know more about this illness, then you are in the right article. This article will be discussing the causes, symptoms, and treatments for Gilbert syndrome. So if you want to know all of these and more, feel free to read on!
Gilbert Syndrome: What is this condition?
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When the liver is operating properly, it filters the toxins and impurities in the body. Furthermore, it also helps in the processing of carbohydrates and proteins. It is also responsible for breaking down fats by the use of bile that is being kept in our gallbladder.
In the case of those who have the Gilbert syndrome, their liver is not able to process the bile’s yellowish-brown color, popular as bilirubin. This is what results to the high levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream that may cause the skin, as well as the eyes, to become yellow. In spite the jaundiced appearance of a person, the liver still functions normally.
The Gilbert syndrome is a common and harmless hereditary condition. It is thought to have been inherited in about half of all its cases. Men are more at risk than those of women. Furthermore, they also tend to develop the Gilbert syndrome in between their late teenage years and in their early 30s. commonly, the condition is diagnosed by accident thru an investigation of some other illnesses.
Moreover, it is also known as familial nonhemolytic jaundice and hepatic dysfunction. Sometimes, it is thought to be a harmless condition and patients do not necessarily need any treatment. Having the condition means you already have it when you were born. It is the result of the gene mutation that you inherit. You might not know that you already have the condition unless you discover it by chance. Some examinations that may accidentally discover the illness is a blood test, since it may show the increase of the levels of bilirubin.
Causes of Gilbert Syndrome
The Gilbert syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation in a gene for the enzyme’s promoter region also popular as the UGT1A. this particular gene is set on the chromosome 2. Moreover, some other types of mutations in the same gene may cause another illness, known as Crigler-Najjar syndrome. This is a more severe form of high bilirubin levels in the blood or hyperbilirubinemia.
Those who have two copies of UGT1A may have Gilbert’s syndrome and may have an increase in their bilirubin levels, thus suggesting a recessive autosomal method of inheritance. Meaning, both of the parents need the gene for the expression of the abnormality in their child.
Symptoms of Gilbert Syndrome
There are many people who have Gilbert syndrome that has no symptoms at all. In the event of this condition, the liver doesn’t process the bilirubin efficiently. This is due to a hereditary genetic abnormality. This is what causes it to accumulate in the blood. The high levels of bilirubin may cause itching. However, this does not occur in the condition, since the levels of bilirubin are not that high.
Here are some of the factors that may result in the rise of bilirubin levels and make the symptoms more obvious:
- Alcohol intake
- Lack of sleep
The bilirubin levels don’t reach high levels with the condition of Gilbert syndrome. There are some people that may experience fatigue and discomfort in the abdominal areas. However, experts have created no association between the higher levels of bilirubin and all of these symptoms.
Treatments for Gilbert Syndrome
Most of the people don’t need any treatments for Gilbert syndrome. This is since the condition is very common.
To be able to prevent the condition, you must try to avoid various things, which make your level of bilirubin rise. For example:
- Limit your alcoholic consumption.
- Get enough sleep.
- Use some relaxation techniques or some other methods to be able to manage stress.
- Drink a lot of water or fluids.
- Do not skip any meals.
The same liver enzyme, which breaks down the bilirubin levels also breaks down various medicines, these include:
- Monoclonal antibodies, that are used in treating autoimmune diseases.
- Protease inhibitor drugs, which are used in treating AIDS or HIV, as well as hepatitis C.
- Camptosar or the cancer drug irinotecan.
- Tylenol or Acetaminophen.
If you happen to have the condition and you choose to take any of these treatments for Gilbert syndrome, you are at much higher risk for its side effects like diarrhea. Moreover, you must ask your doctor before taking a new medicine. Also, do not take more than the recommendable dose of the medication as it may cause some after effects.