Gilbert diseaseIcterus intermittens juvenilis; Low-grade chronic hyperbilirubinemia; Familial non-hemolytic-non-obstructive jaundice; Constitutional liver dysfunction; Unconjugated benign bilirubinemia
Gilbert disease is a common disorder passed down through families. It affects the way bilirubin is processed by the liver, and causes the skin to take on a yellow color ( jaundice ).
Jaundice is a yellow color of the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes. The yellow coloring comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Jau...
Gilbert disease affects 1 in 10 people in some white groups.
Symptoms may include:
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (mild jaundice)
In people with Gilbert disease, jaundice most often appears during times of exertion, stress, and infection, or when they do not eat.
Exams and Tests
A blood test for bilirubin shows changes that occur with Gilbert disease. The total bilirubin level is mildly elevated, with most being unconjugated bilirubin. Most often the total level is less than 2 mg/dL, and the conjugated bilirubin level is normal.
Gilbert disease is linked to a genetic problem, but genetic testing is not needed.
No treatment is necessary for Gilbert disease.
Jaundice may come and go throughout life. It is more likely to appear during illnesses such as colds. It does not cause health problems. However, it can confuse the results of tests for jaundice.
There are no known complications.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have jaundice or pain in the abdomen that does not go away.
There is no proven prevention.
Berk PD, Korenblat KM. Approach to the patient with jaundice or abnormal liver test results In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine . 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 149.
Lidofsky SD. Jaundice. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease . 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 20.
Theise ND. Liver and gallbladder. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N, Aster JC, eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease . 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 18.
Digestive system - illustration
The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.
Review Date: 4/20/2015
Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, Gastroenterologist with Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.