When individual red blood cells come to the end of their lives, they are broken down by the liver. A by-product of this process is bilirubin, which is yellow in color. This substance is usually also broken down by the liver, but sometimes it is able to accumulate in the bloodstream. This will often lead to us appearing yellow ourselves, which is known as jaundice.
There are actually various reasons why bilirubin levels might rise in the bloodstream. Some are temporary and quite harmless, while others can be very serious indeed.
If it is revealed that you have more bilirubin in your blood than you should have, make sure to get it checked out to find out why.
Cause #1: Gallstones
The gallbladder is an organ that is located just beneath the liver. It is shaped like a pear and is responsible for storing bile, which helps us to break down the fats that we eat. The gallbladder will release bile into the small intestines when it is needed.
Sometimes, some of the fluids in the gallbladder can harden, causing small stones known as gallstones. These will need to be passed out through the digestive system. They can be extremely painful to pass and can result in a range of other symptoms. One of the symptoms associated with gallstones is high levels of bilirubin.