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What happens with Gilbert's syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Gilbert's syndrome is the improper processing of bilirubin by the liver, according to Mayo Clinic. Though common, it is a mild, harmless condition that typically does not need treatment. However, it is important to consult a doctor when signs of Gilbert's syndrome present, as the condition can interfere with medications.

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Full Answer

Gilbert's syndrome occurs as a result of an inherited gene mutation and usually takes many years to be noticed, usually until puberty, notes Mayo Clinic. Typically, the discovery of Gilbert's syndrome is accidental. For instance, a doctors may realize that a patient has Gilbert's syndrome during a blood test in which the results indicate that the patient has high levels of bilirubin.

On occasion, Gilbert's syndrome may cause the white parts of the eyes to turn yellowish, which is its only sign, says Mayo Clinic. This happens when the blood bilirubin rises as a result of conditions such as dehydration, menstruation, cold, stress and strenuous exercise. However, the eyes usually regain their normal color when these conditions disappear.

To prevent elevated blood bilirubin, an individual should eat a health diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits and calories, advises Mayo Clinic. Stress management methods, including physical exercise and spending time alone, may also help maintain bilirubin at normal levels.

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