Everything You Must Know about the Bilirubin Serum Test

The Bilirubin Serum Test is done to measure the level of bilirubin in the body. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment that is present in human blood. The process of breaking down hemoglobin leads to the production of Bilirubin. The process of RBC degradation is a healthy biological phenomenon. 

Bilirubin after it circulates in the body as required it makes its way to the liver from where it finally gets discharged from the body via stool. The brown color of stool is because of the presence of bilirubin. 

Types of Bilirubin:

There are two types of Bilirubin, the Bilirubin Serum Test can determine:

  1. Conjugated (direct)

  2. Unconjugated (indirect)

Total bilirubin in the body is measured by summing both direct & indirect bilirubin. Your Bilirubin Serum Test will come with both the values -- total bilirubin & direct bilirubin. And, the indirect bilirubin is calculated as follows:

Indirect serum bilirubin = total serum bilirubin − direct serum bilirubin.

Conjugated bilirubin, which is water-soluble will mean sugar attached to it. An increased level of direct bilirubin will mean greater concerns for the liver. 

Unconjugated bilirubin, which is not water-soluble will mean that there is no sugar. An increased level of indirect bilirubin will not always indicate a problem with your liver sometimes it could be because of a non-liver condition. 

When you must consider a Bilirubin test Done?

Usually, the bilirubin test is common with new-borns. It is done to make sure that bilirubin is circulating perfectly and normally. But people showing symptoms of liver damage must consider a bilirubin test done immediately. 

Symptoms of liver disease:

  • Vomiting/Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Stomach pain

  • Light-colored stool

  • Abdominal pain

  • Yellow eyes

  • Fever & chills

  • Yellow Skin

  • Dark-colored urine

So if you have any or all of these symptoms, you must consider getting a bilirubin test done immediately. For people who are going through any form of liver treatment, they are regularly monitored for bilirubin. 

How to evaluate your bilirubin test results?

The first thing you should know -- a decreased level of bilirubin is not really a concern, but if it’s increased you need to consult a specialist. Bilirubin is produced in the body on a daily basis and the test results must fall in the normal range. Here’s what the normal range of bilirubin in the human body looks like:

Direct bilirubin: 0 to 0.3 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre)

Total bilirubin: 0.3 to 1.9 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre)

When do you need to worry?

A lower level of bilirubin will mean -- there is nothing to be concerned about. In that case, you do not need to get tests done.

When the bilirubin levels in your body have risen, you really need to worry. It could be because of some kind of liver dysfunction. Increased levels of bilirubin will mean that your liver is not properly clearing off the excess bilirubin as required. 

This could indicate some kind of liver disease. Sometimes it could also be caused because the rate of red blood cell destruction has increased. 


So, if you have any of the above symptoms, you must get yourself tested for bilirubin. There is nothing to worry about -- consult your doctor, he will definitely suggest you get tested for bilirubin. It is usually found in people with a history of heavy alcohol intake, hepatitis virus, or hemolytic anemia. Get yourself immediately tested for bilirubin if you have a constant feeling of nausea, vomiting, fatigue & abdominal pain. The test will be done by taking your blood samples. 

Don’t worry, just get tested & treated!

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