Gilbert’s syndrome is a medical condition that causes yellow discoloration on the sclera of the eyes and skin. This is quite harmless and not a life-threatening condition. Gilbert’s syndrome will occur when the liver doesn’t process the bilirubin properly. One of the liver’s functions is to start hemolysis or the breakdown of worn out red blood cells. This process will produce bilirubin. In Gilbert’s syndrome, the bilirubin is not excreted properly due to an abnormality in the liver.
The cause of Gilbert’s syndrome is hereditary. Because of a faulty gene that prevents the liver from removing bilirubin from the blood.
What’s happening is that, when the red blood cells reach its life cycle, which is 12 days, the red pigment of the blood, also the carrier of the oxygen, called hemoglobin breaks down into bilirubin.
Bilirubin is then processed in the liver converting it into liquid form, passed into bile then removed from the body through urine or stool as a waste product. Bilirubin is also responsible for the light color yellow in urine and brown color in the stool.
The cause of Gilbert’s syndrome is purely hereditary. Both parents have one defective gene that would cause Gilbert’s syndrome in the offspring. There are no known risk factors in individuals with Gilbert’s syndrome. It is not even attributed to any environmental factors such as lifestyle practices or eating habits or any serious liver conditions.
The most common symptoms of individuals with Gilbert’s syndrome are the mild discoloration of the skin and in the sclera of the eyes. This is of short-lived period and would usually go away. Some patients have reported that during this attack, their jaundice is accompanied with one or more of the following:
• Irritable bowel syndrome – a digestive disorder that causes stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation and occasional bloating
• Trouble concentrating and thinking clearly
• Extreme tiredness or fatigue
• Loss of appetite
• Feelings of being unwell
The symptoms above are not caused directly by Gilbert’s syndrome. In fact, it may be signs and symptoms of other medical conditions. However, some individuals reported that along with their jaundice they experience some of those symptoms as well. In addition, some people with Gilbert’s syndrome don’t have any symptoms at all.
If you think you are suffering from Gilbert’s Syndrome you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Gilbert’s Syndrome as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).