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Gilbert's disease

Definition:

Gilbert's disease is a common disorder passed down through families.It affects the way bilirubin is processed by the liver, and causes jaundice .



Alternative Names:

Icterus intermittens juvenilis; Low-grade chronic hyperbilirubinemia; Familial non-hemolytic-non-obstructive jaundice; Constitutional liver dysfunction; Unconjugated benign bilirubinemia



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Gilbert's disease affects up to 10% of people in some Caucasian populations. The condition is usually noncancerous (benign ).



Symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (mild jaundice)

Note: Jaundice typically appears during times of exertion, stress, not eating, and infection.



Signs and tests:

An indirect bilirubin blood test shows changes that occur with Gilbert's disease.



Treatment:

No treatment is necessary for Gilbert's disease.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Jaundice may come and go throughout your life, especially during illnesses such as colds. However, it usually does not cause health problems.



Complications:

There are no known complications.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have jaundice or persistent abdominal pain .



Prevention:

There is no proven prevention.



References:

Berk PD, Korenblat KM. Approach to the patient with jaundice or abnormal liver test results. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 150.




Review Date: 4/23/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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