‘The Bachelor’s’ Joey Graziadei reveals he has Gilbert’s syndrome

Joey Graziadei on ‘The Bachelor' (Disney)

The Bachelor’s Joey Graziadei recently revealed the cause of his “yellow eyes” on social media.

In an Instagram post shared on 29 February, the 28-year-old tennis instructor addressed concerns from fans about the yellow tinge in the whites of his eyes, saying that they were caused by a condition called Gilbert’s syndrome.

“Hi everyone, I hope you are having a beautiful day,” Graziadei started the video. “I want to jump on here really quick and talk about something that I am seeing a lot of comments about, which is Joey’s yellow eyes.”

He continued, “So to give some context on that, I have to go all the way back to when I was in high school. I was sick for about a week and a half and my mom thought it would be a good idea to go to the doctor.”

After having his blood work done, the results showed that his blood contained a high amount of bilirubin, a yellow substance produced when our bodies break down old red blood cells. Bilirubin is ordinarily found in bile, a fluid that enables your liver to help digest food. Too much bilirubin indicates that the liver is not functioning properly, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“That means that there could be something that was wrong with my liver,” he explained. “So we went and I got a liver ultrasound, I went to other doctors, they found out that there was nothing that was necessarily wrong like hepatitis but they diagnosed me with something called Gilbert’s syndrome.”

He continued, “At the end of the day, I am told that I am healthy. It’s something that does affect the whites of my eyes. It makes it have those jaundice levels which is why they look a little bit more yellow. It’s something I want to pay attention to more going into this year.”

Gilbert’s syndrome is a relatively common, harmless liver condition that occurs when the liver cannot properly process bilirubin. It is considered an inherited genetic condition that occurs when the gene that usually controls the enzyme that helps break down bilirubin in your liver is modified, leading to the liver’s ability to process bilirubin being slightly compromised. Those with the condition experience an excess of bilirubin in the blood because their bodies are unable to produce enough of the enzyme.

The condition is identified by symptoms such as having a yellow tinge to your skin or the whites of your eyes as Graziadei does. If you were to get sick, do strenuous exercise, experience stress, dehydration, menstruation, and begin to fast or eat a low-calorie diet, experts say the bilirubin levels may increase and may lead to those symptoms becoming visible.