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What causes persistant elevated bilirubin level?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 3190 Questions
I recently went for a check up. I had some blood work done due to slight abdominal/stomach discomfort off and on for about a week. The doctor ran complete blood screening. All came back good except my bilirubin level was 1.7 which it has been about 1.7 for 25 years. Do you have any idea what could be causing this level to always be elevated. Other than occasional abdominal "slight" aches from time to time (on a scale of 1 to 10 in pain with 10 being extreme, mine is 1 or less) I feel really good. I'm a male and 52 years old. Non smoker and very light drinker. Most everything I read on elevated bilirubin levels with abdominal pain/discomfort leads to liver cancer, pancreas cancer or hepatitis. This just makes me worry about the elevated levels even though it's been that high ever since I started going to the doctor regularly. I don't think I've been tested for Hepatitis unless they've done it for a few life insurance policies I have. I haven't had but one sexual partner for the past 35 years. Should I be concerned about Hepatitis?
Posted Fri, 28 Feb 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Deepak Kishore Kaltari 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Possibility of mild Hemolytic anemia to be conside Detailed Answer: Hi Welcome to Healthcare-Magic Greetings of the day I would like to lay to rest your apprehension about liver cancer and hepatitis as cause of raised bilirubin. These are the points against these being the cause 1. Pancreatic cancer usually produce progressive jaundice and pain and are usually fulminant. As you mentioned you have been having raised bilirubin since 25 years . So its more likely to be a benign pathology 2. Hepatitis including infective Hepatitis usually does not produce isolated bilirubin elevation. It's usually associated with other symptoms and complaint too I hope you have got an Ultrasound of abdomen done to rule out any heoatobilia abnormality. In the Presence of normal ultrasound report I would consider the possibility of mild Hemolytic anemia like sickle cell trait or thalessemia trait as the cause of persistent elevated mild bilirubinemia. I would suggest you to discuss this probability with your Physician. Rest be assured there is no cause for concern. In case you require any further assistance, will be glad to assist you. Take care Best Regards Dr Deepak Kishore MBBS, MS, MCH Consultant Surgeon
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