Gilbert’s Syndrome (GS) is an inherent disease that is caused in the liver. It is a harmless genetic condition in which the liver enzyme (the protein molecule) becomes abnormal and cannot properly process bilirubin (waste due to worn out-red blood cells). It is generally due to a reduced number of chemicals in the liver.
People with this disease experience elevated levels of bilirubin pigment, which may lead to yellowing of eyes and skin. Gilbert’s Syndrome is a genetic condition and is checked when you go through a blood test and that shows high bilirubin levels.
Causes of Gilbert’s Syndrome
The only cause of Gilbert’s Syndrome is an abnormal gene from either parent. This condition affects the liver and gives birth to an excessive amount of bilirubin. There is a presence of a gene in the liver that controls enzyme which breaks down the bilirubin. A person who is having an abnormal gene stores a large amount of bilirubin.
The syndrome is caused by:
- Deficiency of the uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase enzyme or UGT.
- A change of the UDP-glucuronosyltransferase gene – a faulty gene.
Risks related with Gilbert’s Syndrome
The main risk factors of this disease are:
Gilbert’s Syndrome cannot be ignored as it is inherited, though, the following steps can help control the symptoms:
- Balanced diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid alcohol
- Manage stress
- Avoid junk food
How is Gilbert’s Syndrome diagnosed?
Gilbert’s Syndrome usually has no symptoms and can cause mild jaundice. Mild but prolonged jaundice can be a cause of worry as it increases the chances of serious liver disorders.
The diagnostic plans for this disease include:
- Study of the medical history of the patient and the patient's family
- Physical examination of the liver
- Blood count test
- Liver biopsy
- Urine test
- Liver test
Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome
Symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome (GS) are not clearly identified in elevated levels of bilirubin. Mostly, people don’t come to a realisation of having this disease, as the bilirubin levels mostly stay within normal limits and rarely raise – that too slightly, to an extent that is tolerable.
However, substances that are glucuronidated by the affected enzymes could cause symptoms such as:
- Difficulty in concentration
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain and itching without rashes
How is Gilbert’s Syndrome treated?
Gilbert’s Syndrome does not require major treatment, as it isn't a serious condition. Generally patients have normal life expectancy and healthy lifestyles without treatment.
In specified cases, however, jaundice can be managed by a balanced diet and adequate intake of water. Patients can be benefited from Phenobarbital which is a medicine to lower bilirubin levels and it is taken when the symptoms of jaundice gets too disturbed.