The Gilbert syndrome, whose main characteristic is the yellowish hue which acquires the skin, is a benign disease that affects the liver. According to medical data, it is estimated that it affect 5-7% of the population, being a benign disease that does not involve further complications, or hepatitis or cirrhosis causes.
Why Gilbert syndrome appears? It is thus called to liver dysfunction linked to a genetic mutation of hereditary origin, and it can even be considered a silent disease because often do not present obvious symptoms. Let’s see, then, what are the characteristics of this disease, its symptoms and diagnosis.
Characteristics and symptoms
As we pointed out the yellowing of the skin is the most common symptom of Gilbert syndrome, a common symptom with other liver diseases, even though in this case we have a benign disease caused by the increase of bilirubin, a substance resulting from the breakdown of red blood cells when it get older and that, under normal conditions, it is processed by the liver before its way to the intestines to be expelled to the outside with the stool. However, sometimes the liver is unable to properly process bilirubin, resulting in a buildup that is absorbed by the skin and tissues hence change its color to yellow (called jaundice). Other symptoms that may also occur are fatigue and mild abdominal pain.
Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
The cause of this mechanism does not work the right way and excessive accumulation of bilirubin occurs lies in an inherited genetic mutation. Gilbert syndrome is more common in men, but women should not be considered immune.
To do a diagnosis of the disorder just has to evaluate the levels of bilirubin in the blood, using a simple extraction of blood.
One of those responsible for this disorder, although not the only one, it is known as UGT1 gene. Although at first the diagnosis can be alarmed us, do not fret because this is a disorder that does not produce liver damage or cirrhosis or anything like that. It is not also necessary to be vaccinated specially against the hepatitis.
There is no specific treatment for the Gilbert syndrome, since it does not interfere negatively with the quality of life. As therapeutic exception: If the jaundice is particularly evident and causes discomfort and embarrassment, specialist can prescribe appropriate medication to stem the flow, to reduce this symptom.