What is Jaundice?
Jaundice is also called icterus and describes a yellow coloring of skin and the sclera. It happens due to excess blood bilirubin levels (hyperbilirubinemia). Body fluids might turn yellow as well. The sclera and skin color changes depending on bilirubin levels. Moderately high bilirubin levels turn the skin yellow and very high levels turn it brown. Bilirubin is a yellow waste product that causes sclera and skin coloration in jaundice. Bilirubin is the byproduct after iron gets removed from the RBCs. Excess bilirubin might leak into the surrounding tissues and cause coloration.
Underlying disorders where bilirubin is overproduced or the liver is prevented from disposing it cause jaundice in most cases. In both instances, the bilirubin gets stored in the tissues.
Few conditions that might result in jaundice are:
Cholestasis is a condition when the bile flow is interrupted. The bile with the conjugated bilirubin, instead of getting excreted, stays within the liver.
Jaundice treatment needs a diagnosis for a specific cause for selecting viable treatment plans. Such a treatment targets the cause instead of the jaundice.
The itching in jaundice might get very intense and the patients might have insomnia, scratch excessively and in extreme cases may commit suicide. The complications in jaundice are mostly not due to the jaundice itself, but the underlying causes. For example, a bile-duct obstruction jaundice might result in continuous bleeding due to vitamin deficiency.
Jaundice is a medical condition where the bilirubin level shoots up in the blood of the affected person. Also referred to as icterus, the condition may affect adults as well as newborn babies (Neonatal Jaundice), whereby the skin and the white part of the eye (sclera) appears yellowish in color (due to the accumulation of bilirubin).
Bilirubin is the bile pigment that results from the breakdown of hemoglobin (when the RBC cells breakdown). The bilirubin thus produced is released into the plasma. The liver then filters the released bilirubin for further metabolism. In the case of a diseased condition, injury or infection to the liver, it fails to remove the bilirubin from the bloodstream. As a result, there is an abnormal rise in the bilirubin level in the blood (Hyperbilirubinemia), resulting in jaundice. In jaundice, Bilirubin can go upto much higher levels. At 2.5-3 it just starts to get manifest as yellow eyes. Obstructive jaundice may require an endoscopic procedure or surgery.
Types of jaundice:
Jaundice may be of the following types:
Factors contributing to jaundice:
The increased buildup of bilirubin may be an outcome of
The symptoms associated with jaundice include
Diagnosis and treatment:
The earlier the diagnosis, more effective is the treatment.
The treatment for jaundice involves identifying the underlying factor responsible for the condition and treating it.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Enlarged pancreas can result beacuse of factors such as:
An enlarged pancreas surfaces in the form of these symptoms:
The medical name for the yellow tint on your skin and around the white portion of the eye is jaundice. However, jaundice is a symptom of a variety of underlying medical conditions, and not a specific disease. When the body break downs deceased red blood cells, a yellow pigment known as bilirubin is formed. Jaundice develops when your system contains excess bilirubin. Usually, the bilirubin, as well as the dead blood cells, are exterminated by your body.
Jaundice may symbolise a critical problem with your pancreas, blood cells, gallbladder or liver.
Jaundice isn’t a disease; it is a symptom. Thus if you have jaundice, it might indicate you may have any of the following complications:
Cirrhosis (Liver scarring mostly due to alcohol).
Hepatitis (Swollen liver that decreases its functionality).
An overdose or adverse reaction to certain medications.
The major indication of jaundice is yellow tinted skin and eyes. In serious cases, the sclera (white parts) of the eye can turn orange or brown. You might additionally exhibit other symptoms such as pale stools and dark urine.
Misdiagnosis is common when it comes to jaundice. Sometimes, an abundance of beta carotene (a type of anti-oxidant found abundantly in fruits and plants) can turn your skin yellow.
Since jaundice is a symptom of some other underlying disease, the treatment will focus on that disease. When your treatment starts, the yellow tint will disappear on its own.
If the jaundice is serious, blood transfusions might be needed to expel the excess bilirubin and rejuvenate the body’s red blood cells. However, if the body’s bile duct mechanism gets blocked, a surgery might be required to unblock the same. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Jaundice is a medical condition when the amount of bilirubin in the blood increases causing yellow discoloration of skin, whites of the eye and mucous membranes. Bilirubin is produced by natural breakdown of red blood cells and it is also referred to as icterus.
Types of Jaundice
There are three types of jaundice:
1. Hepatocellular jaundice
2. Hemolytic jaundice
3. Obstructive jaundice
Hepatocellular jaundice – This type of jaundice is triggered due to a disease, an injury or damage caused to the liver.
Hemolytic jaundice – This type of jaundice is triggered when an increased amount of bilirubin is produced in the body as a result of breakdown of red blood cells at a very fast pace.
Obstructive jaundice – This type of jaundice occurs when there is an obstruction in the bile duct. This obstruction prevents bilirubin passing through the liver resulting in jaundice.
Common symptoms of jaundice include:
- a yellow tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes, normally starting at the head and spreading down the body
- pale stools
- dark urine
Accompanying symptoms of jaundice resulting from low bilirubin levels include:
- pale stools
- dark urine
As aforementioned, Jaundice is a medical condition where the skin, the mucous membrane and the eyes turn yellow due to excess amount of bilirubin in blood. The major causes of increase in bilirubin include:
- Breaking down or dying of red blood cells and protruding through the liver.
- Overload or damage to the liver.
- Improper movement of the bilirubin from the liver into the digestive tract.
Here are some major conditions that can cause jaundice:
- Liver infections including hepatitis A, B, C, D and E or liver infections caused to parasites
- Overdose of certain drugs (acetaminophen)
- Exposure to certain poisonous items
- Disorders such as Gilbert syndrome, Dubin-Johnson syndrome, Rotor syndrome, or Crigler-Najjar syndrome
- Chronic liver diseases
- Gallbladder disorders
- Bile buildup in the gallbladder (jaundice of pregnancy)
As already discussed earlier, Jaundice occurs due to the production of excess amount of bilirubin in the blood. This causes bilirubin to get deposited in the tissues. Here are some medical conditions that increase the risk of jaundice:
- Liver inflammation.
- Bile duct inflammation.
- Blockage of the bile duct
- Gilbert's syndrome
Listed below are some rare medical conditions that increase the risk of jaundice:
- Crigler-Najjar syndrome.
- Dubin-Johnson syndrome.
If not treated properly, Jaundice may lead to severe itching. Sometime, this itching is so intense that patients scratch their skin intensely, suffer from insomnia and even start experiencing suicidal tendencies. Here it is important to understand that these complications are due to some underlying problems and the disease itself.
Jaundice, caused due to obstruction of bile duct, may lead to uncontrolled and unexplained bleeding. The bleeding caused is uncontrolled because of the lack of the vitamin required for clotting of blood.
Diagnosis of the disease is often done by checking the medical history of the patient, his/her physical examination and a test to confirm the bilirubin level.
In the physical examination, medical professionals usually look for swelling abdomen and inflammation in lever. Here it is important to know that a stiff liver may indicate signs of cirrhosis or cancer in the liver.
In addition to the physical examination, several other types of tests can confirm jaundice. One such test is liver function test. If the liver function test indicates signs of jaundice, doctors may also suggest:
- Bilirubin tests
- FBC (full blood count)
- CBC (complete blood count)
- Tests for hepatitis A, B, or C
In order to diagnose an obstruction in the liver, doctors may suggest:
- Ultrasound Scans
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
- X-ray imaging.
Furthermore, doctors may also suggest a liver biopsy to detect the signs of liver inflammation, fatty liver, cirrhosis and cancer. Liver biopsy is done by obtaining a liver tissue by inserting a needle into the liver.
The treatment of Jaundice depends upon the underlying cause. Typically, the treatment of the disease is done to cure the cause and not just the symptoms of jaundice. Treatment of jaundice includes:
- Jaundice caused due to obstruction is treated by performing a surgery to remove obstruction.
- Jaundice caused by overuse of certain medicine is treated using alternative medicines.
Typically, jaundice is caused to the malfunction of liver. Therefore, it is important to ensure healthy functioning of the liver by ensuring healthy and balanced diet, regular exercise and refraining from the consumption of alcohol.
Myth 1: Jaundice is a waterborne disease.
Fact: While it is true that jaundice is usually triggered due to consumption of contaminated water, it is not the only cause. Jaundice is also caused due to malaria, leptospirosis, and hepatitis B/ C. These diseases are not waterborne. Obstruction of bile duct, gall stones or cancer may also lead to jaundice and these disease too are not waterborne.
Myth 2: All liver problems lead to Jaundice.
Fact: Though liver malfunction mostly leads to jaundice, all medical issues related to liver do not trigger jaundice. There are many medical conditions related to liver that do not lead to jaundice.
Myth 3: Itching is the sign that patient is recovering from jaundice.
Fact: Jaundice, caused due to obstruction, usually triggers acute itching. However, itching doesn’t signal that the patient is recovering from the disease.
Myth 4: Jaundice usually causes extreme sleepiness or insomnia.
Fact: Though extreme fatigue is common jaundice during jaundice, excessive sleepiness or insomnia is not caused by jaundice. On the other hand, excessive sleepiness or insomnia may be a signal of liver malfunction or liver failure. In such a case, one must seek immediate medical attention.
Myth 5: There is no cure for jaundice.
Fact: A large fraction of people believe that there is no cure for jaundice. In fact, this is one of the biggest myths associated with this disease. The reality, however, is akin to this myth. Successful evaluation of the jaundice by liver function test can help one understand the caused and severity of the disease. Once the cause is identified, one can seek medical treatment to treat the root cause of Jaundice.
Fact: While it is important to ensure balanced diet when diagnosed with jaundice, one can eat spicy and non-vegetarian food. However, it is important to ensure avoiding too much spices as it may lead to nausea. A balanced and frequent diet is important to ensure fix the liver malfunctioning and bring it back to a healthy state.
Myth 7: Consuming turmeric can lead to severity of jaundice.
Fact: This is yet another myth around the disease. No medical evidence has been found that proves the consuming turmeric can lead to the increase in the production of bilirubin. Therefore, one can consume turmeric during jaundice; however, it is advised to consume only small quantity of it.
Myth 8: Sugarcane juice is the best treatment option for jaundice.
Fact: A large number of people believe that sugarcane juice is the best treatment for jaundice. However, this is not completely true. Sugarcane juice is a great source of carbohydrate and helps increase nutrients in the body. But it doesn’t really help heal the liver faster or slow down the excessive production of bilirubin in the blood.
Myth 9: It is important to give water to newborn babies to treat jaundice.
Fact: Typically, most newborn babies have jaundice. Some people believe that if the newborn has jaundice, they aren’t really adjusting to their mother’s milk and they should be given water instead. However, this is wrong. Mother’s milk is safest for newborn babies. In addition, giving water to newborn babies may lead to jaundice, if the water is not clean and also lead to several other infections leading to life-threatening complications.
Myth 10: Jaundice spreads by physical contact.
Fact: A fair share of people also believes that jaundice is spread by physical contact. However, this is not true at all. Jaundice doesn’t spread by physical contact.
Question 1: What is infant jaundice?
Answer: Infant jaundice is very common amongst babies born before the completion of the pregnancy period. Typically, a large number of babies, born before 38 weeks, the completion of pregnancy period and breastfeeding, show the symptoms of jaundice. But there is nothing to really fear as the signs of jaundice don’t signal that the baby is born with weak or malfunctioning liver. In newborn babies, liver aren’t usually string enough to remove bilirubin produced in the blood. But as the baby grows, the liver becomes stronger and starts functioning normally.
There is not treatment for infant jaundice and the symptoms of the disease automatically subside without the help of any medicines. However, some medical professionals may suggest medicines for infant jaundice depending upon the condition of the newborn baby and the complication of the disease. Complication of infant jaundice may even lead to brain damage.
Question 2: What causes infant jaundice?
Answer: Listed below are some of the many causes for infant jaundice:
When the liver is still underdeveloped. This is very common and one must not worry about the same. Gradually, the liver becomes stronger and starts removing bilirubin from the blood.
-When there is some internal bleeding
-When the newborn suffers from blood infection
-When the newborn baby suffers from deficiency or malfunctioning of enzyme
-When the red blood cells of the newborn baby break down more than normal
-When the newborn baby’s blood is not compatible with mother's blood. This lead to abnormal breakdown of RBCs.
-When the newborn has any viral or bacterial infection
-When the baby isn’t breastfed sufficiently
Question 3: Can jaundice occur without discoloration of the skin?
Answer: Discoloration or yellowish tinge of the skin is just one of the symptoms of jaundice. There have been many cases where jaundice patients have shown delayed discoloration or yellowish tinge. This is why one must know all the signs and symptoms of jaundice. Here is a list of some of the other symptoms of jaundice:
Extreme pain in the abdomen
Discoloration of urine and stool
Question 4: Is it difficult to treat jaundice?
Answer: the answer is no. The treatment of jaundice is not difficult. In fact, the treatment of jaundice can be easily administered depending upon the causes of the disease.
Listed below are just some of the many treatment options for the disease:
Hemolytic jaundice can be treated using medicines to increase iron in the blood. Also, iron rich diet can help treat hemolytic jaundice.
Jaundice can also be treated using steroids. Jaundice caused due to bile obstructions can be treated with surgeries in order to remove the obstruction.
Question 5: Can jaundice be fatal?
Answer: Typically, jaundice is not a fatal disease. However, those suffering from extreme liver problems may eventually develop chronic jaundice and this could lead to life-threatening scenarios. Age also plays an affective factor in the treatment of the disease. Jaundice may prove to be life-threatening for elderly people and that’s why most doctors recommend hospitalization to elderly people suffering from jaundice. In addition, those who consume excessive amount of alcohol may damage their liver developing chronic jaundice that may prove to be fatal.
Question 6: What is Latent Jaundice?
Answer: Latent jaundice is a medical condition where the amount of bilirubin in the blood increases without any signs or symptoms of jaundice. In this medical condition, the inner skin cells turn to yellowish greenish color excluding the brain cells.
Question 7: What is the recovery period for jaundice?
Answer: Typically, jaundice patients take approximately one to two months to completely recover from the disease. However, weakness, pain and itching associated with jaundice usually disappear by the end of the 3rd week. But it is important to stick to healthy and balanced diet to ensure complete recovery of the liver in its best forms.
How many people adults or children do we see in day to day life who tend to fall ill at every change of temperature?
Sensitivity to change in atmospheric conditions has become a very common phenomenon in todays world. Most people end up with viral infections such as cough, cold, fever etc at every change in season – be it summer to rainy, rainy to winter or winter to summer.Other common infections include stomach infections, diarrhoea, typhoid, jaundice, malaria, allergic rhinitis, breathing problems etc.This sensitivity basically comes from an altered or weakened immune system. A body which is not capable enough to handle natural external stimuli and ends up over reacting and throwing out symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, cough, fever, bodyache, upset stomach, loss of appetite etc.
Most of the times attention is given to the symptoms and thus symptomatic relief is obtained. The actual cause of the symptoms is oftern overlooked .When the body throws out symptoms, it is asking for help so that it can fight for itself and not get affected by external stimuli.This is where homeopathy steps in....where the PATIENT is treated and not just his symptoms. Homeopathic medicines are prescribed afer a detailed case study covering every aspect of the patient’s personality and thus they help in giving relief to existing symptoms and in the long run the medicines make the body capable of fighting for itself.
Homeopathic medicines have practically no side effects and can be given to even infants, or the elderly . They can also be administered side by side along with regular medication and eventually we can reduce the patient’s depency on medicines.For more information or treatment for conditions such as allergic rhinitis, illness at every change of weather, bronchitis, skin allergies, weak digestion or lowered immune system please feel free to consult a doctor.
What is Jaundice?