Gilbert's syndrome: symptoms and treatment

According to the estimates made, Gilbert's syndrome is a condition present in 1% of the world's populationl. However, it occurs in an average of between 5 and 10% of some populations. It is a hereditary problem, which is usually detected in adults between 20 and 30 years of age.

Most often, Gilbert's syndrome is found when a routine blood test is done. The disease was first described in 1902, by Augustin Nicolas Gilbert and Pierre Lereboullet. Hence the name of the syndrome.

Gilbert's syndrome is a benign, but chronic condition. It is due to a genetic mutation that is inherited. Many of the people who suffer from this disease ignore it, since it does not cause an easily detectable symptoms.

Gilbert's syndrome

Gilbert's syndrome is characterized by elevated bilirubin levels. Although it causes concern, it is a condition that is considered benign.

Gilbert's syndrome is an inherited condition that It is characterized by high levels of bilirubin in the blood. It is also known as constitutional liver failure and nonhemolytic familial jaundice.

It is a dysfunction in which the liver does not process bilirubin the way it should. However, Gilbert's syndrome does not cause damage. It should be noted that bilirubin is a substance that has its origin in red blood cells that age and are processed by the liver.

Normally bilirubin is evacuated from the body through fecal matter and urine. When bilirubin rises, the liver fails to process it properly. Because of this, this substance begins to be absorbed through the skin and the tissues.

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Gilbert's syndrome is a consequence of reduced capacity in hepatocytes (liver cells) to excrete bilirubin. When red blood cells age and deteriorate, they release hemoglobin. It is metabolized and forms a group of substances called "Heme."

The heme is transformed first into biliverdin and then into something like a first version of bilirubin, called "unconjugated" or indirect. When it passes through the liver and combines with glucuronic acid, a reaction that results in bilirubin is triggered Direct or conjugate.

If the process is completed properly, bilirubin becomes soluble in water and is excreted by bile. But nevertheless, In some people there is a mutated gene that prevents the normal production of the enzyme that regulates the production of bilirubin. This leads to Gilbert's syndrome.

Symptoms and diagnosis of Gilbert's syndrome

Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and eyes. It is the most characteristic symptom of Gilbert's syndrome.

The main symptom of Gilbert's syndrome is jaundice, that is, the yellowish color on the skin and eyes. This becomes more visible at times when there is a situation of high stress, when there is prolonged fasting, during the course of infectious diseases or when great efforts are made.

Another of the symptoms present in Gilbert's syndrome is the inability to correctly process some substances, especially some drugs. In particular, Some people affected by this disease have an increased risk of toxicity due to the paracetamol drug.

There are no other recognizable symptoms. In the blood test of people with this condition, indirect bilirubin has high rates, while direct bilirubin remains at normal rates. The liver tests are also normal and no abnormality is detected in the imaging tests.

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Gilbert's syndrome does not demand any type of treatment, since it is an anomaly that does not cause damage, which is why it is considered benign. This dysfunction does not cause any kind of impact on the quality of life of a person, to the point that often goes completely unnoticed.

Nor is there any type of complications caused by the syndrome, nor does it require any special diet regime. It does not affect the ability to exercise normally. The only care that should be observed is the ingestion of certain drugs, such as paracetamol.

As already noted, in Gilbert's syndrome there is an increased risk of liver effects secondary to the ingestion of some drugs. Otherwise, A person with this condition can lead a completely normal life, without requiring any special care.

Jaundice can appear and disappear several times throughout life, without this implying any health risk. Once the diagnosis is established, it is not necessary to perform any type of medical monitoring for this condition.