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.