Jaundice is a condition that occurs when your skin and eyes turn yellow. It can be a sign of some serious problems like liver disease, therefore, you must take medical help. It is caused by the build-up in your body of a yellow substance called bilirubin. Bilirubin is formed in the body when the parts of the red blood cells break down.
The liver takes the bilirubin as waste material from the blood and changes its chemical makeup so that most of it is passed through the stools as bile. An inflamed liver or obstructed bile duct can lead to excessive bilirubin leading to jaundice. The symptoms of the disease include a yellow color to the skin and eyes, dark urine, and itchiness.
There are lots of possible reasons for this and some of them are serious. They include:
Jaundice is more common in newborn but may occur in adults too. Bilirubin, a yellow-orange substance, is found in your red blood cells and when these cells die, the liver filters it from the bloodstream. But if something is wrong and your liver can't keep up, bilirubin builds up and can cause your skin to look yellow.
A person suffering from jaundice may see changes in the skin color. The colour of the skin and eyes will vary depending on the level of bilirubin. Moderate levels lead to a yellow colour, while very high levels will appear brown. One may also have dark urine and itchiness, pale stools. Accompanying symptoms include:
In many cases, the symptoms of jaundice are not usually seen. Its occurrence is noticed accidently as jaundice itself might be the underlying cause of some serious disease.
In case of mild jaundice, where it is seen for a short period of time with not much severity, the symptoms might include.
If the cause of jaundice is something else than any infection the symptoms might also include itchy skin or weight loss. Sometime the reason behind the occurrence of jaundice is liver diseases. In that case, the symptoms might include.
Jaundice occurs when there is too much bilirubin, a yellow-orange substance in your blood. It’s found in your red blood cells and when these cells die, the liver filters it from the bloodstream and accumulates them so that they can pass through bile from the stools. But if something’s wrong and your liver can't keep up, bilirubin builds up and can cause your skin to look yellow. This is caused due to liver infection.
Some of the reasons for jaundice in adults are:
Jaundice is categorized into 3 types which is pre-hepatic, post-hepatic and hepatocellular.
Pre-hepatic Jaundice is a situation in which Red Blood Cells breakdown in an excessive amount which profuse the process of liver to conjugate the bilirubin.
Bilirubin which gets conjugated is excreted normally. Jaundice is caused by the remaining unconjugated bilirubin.
The dysfunction of hepatic Cells causes Hepatocellular Jaundice. In this situation the liver is no more able to conjugate bilirubin but sometimes it becomes cirrhotic, this leads to compression of the intrahepatic portion of the biliary tree which eventually leads to obstruction.
The outcome of this is the mixing of conjugated and unconjugated bilirubin in the blood titled as mixed picture.
It is the obstruction of biliary drainage. The secreted bilirubin is conjugated and this leads to hyperbilirubinemia.
Jaundice is the last stage of liver disease. In the earlier stages of liver diseases, the liver feels inflamed and generally ignored by the sufferer. When it is left untreated, the situations get worse.
Due to the lack of proper treatment it turns into cirrhosis, which is not curable. When the liver disease reaches an end stage then jaundice can occur as a symptom.
Jaundice may be related to the abnormal condition of the liver, blood, or gallbladder. In most cases, it needs to be consulted with a doctor who diagnoses the cause of the disease and decides the treatment plan based on it. However, in some cases such as acute viral hepatitis, it gets resolved spontaneously with the self-healing tendency of the liver and does not need to be treated.
The symptoms of jaundice are managed and controlled spontaneously in most cases such as Acute viral hepatitis, and need not be treated. In this case, the symptoms fade away gradually due to the self-healing tendency of the liver and certain medications.
While anemia-induced jaundice can be controlled at home by incorporating iron-rich foods in one’s diet, hepatitis-related jaundice can undergo self-treatment by the application of medicines such as antivirals and steroids. In these cases, the symptoms may get resolved in a time period of around two weeks and there is no need for medical treatment.
The itching in jaundice might get very intense and the patients might suffer from insomnia. 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 not particularly a disease in itself. It is more of a symptom of several underlying diseases. The overall seriousness depends on the condition of the person.
It can be mild and it can be a sign or an underlying symptom of a serious disease/illness. Mild cases of jaundice in newborns are normal sometimes and go away on their own.
They usually don’t need any treatment. Also, it does not cause any lifelong liver disease.
In most common cases, the organs affected by jaundice are Liver, Gall bladder or Pancreas. Jaundice is the outcome of excessive breakdown of bilirubin in the body.
They causes leading this include:
Other organs which are affected by or are the venue of building jaundice are:
The risks which are associated with the development of jaundice are related either to the systemic or physiological abnormalities in the body or infections with viruses. Such conditions include the following:
Precautions for jaundice:
Some preventive measures against jaundice are as follows:
The correct diagnosis requires examinations and lab tests. Diagnosis includes history and physical exam and close attention to the abdomen, feeling for tumors, and checking the firmness of the liver. A firm liver indicates cirrhosis or scarring of the liver. A rock-hard liver suggests cancer. Several tests can confirm jaundice. First is a liver function test to find out whether the liver is functioning well or not.
Other supporting tests needed for diagnosis are:
The doctor will examine the structure of the liver if they suspect an obstruction. In these cases, they will use imaging tests, including MRI, CT, and ultrasound procedures. They may also carry out an Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. This is a procedure combining endoscopy and X-ray imaging. Liver biopsy can check for inflammation, cirrhosis, cancer, and fatty liver.
The methods of jaundice treatments usually include phototherapy in infants, intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, blood transfusion, certain medications, and surgical correction of the blocked bile duct. These methods are associated with some side effects and complications which generally include constipation, bloating, gas, stomach pain, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, upset stomach, and abdominal pain.
Some of the fastest ways to cure jaundice are as follows:
Treatment of adult jaundice is not about treating jaundice by itself, rather treating its cause. For example, if you have acute viral hepatitis, jaundice will go away on its own as the liver begins to heal. If a blocked bile duct is to be blamed, the doctor may suggest surgery to open it.
It is of vital importance that if you see any signs or symptoms of jaundice, you must immediately consult your doctor. This is not something that can be ignored.
If your doctor is not available you must go into emergency and get yourself checked. Jaundice can be treated with a small consultation from your doctor but in severe cases, the patient might be needed to get admitted to the hospital.
If the jaundice is managed in a less severe state, there is no effect on the kidneys.If the jaundice has reached a higher level of severity, then it can cause intratubular accumulation of bilirubin and the bile salts.
This might lead to the impairment of renal functions. The reason behind kidney failure may be nephron obstruction or direct tubular toxicity or both.
Jaundice can be managed or treated by doing some lifestyle changes including exercises and yoga and implementing the same in one’s daily routine. Some of the yoga practices that can benefit us are such as:
It has a proven role in the well-management of diseases such as jaundice according to Ayurveda. It includes Anulom vilom, Kapalbhati, Bhramari, Udgith, Sheetali, and Sheetkari.
These are effective in the sustainable development of the body and help to overcome the symptoms. Some of these include Sookshma Vyayam, Mandukasana, Pawanmuktasana, Uttanapadasana, Naukasana and Bhujangasana.
The results of the treatment are not necessarily permanent. It depends upon the causes. Most of the cases which are associated with the conditions like gallstones disease or viral hepatitis are amenable to treatment, however, if it is due to conditions like cancer of the gallbladder or liver or due to cirrhosis of the liver then permanent treatment is not possible.
Some of the home remedies are as follows:
Read More: Home Remedies For Jaundice
Foods to avoid:
The diet during jaundice is as follows:
1) Water : Drink at least 8 glasses of water which helps the liver to flush out toxins. Also helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps the blood thin which helps to filter.
2) Coffee or Herbal Tea : Moderate coffee consumption helps improve liver health by reducing-
3) Milk: High in antioxidants and also contains silymarin which helps repair damaged liver cells.
4) Digestive Enzymes: Naturally occurring digestive enzymes may help reduce bilirubin. These are found in-
5) Fruits and Vegetables: USDA recommends daily consumption of at least 2n ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits. Healthy choices in jaundice include-
6) Fibre : Especially soluble fibre helps move bile out of the liver, they can reduce toxicity. It is found in-
High fibre foods include -
Cut back or avoid on:
Foods and drinks that must be avoided during jaundice are:
Newborn babies usually are subjected to jaundice and it is not much to worry about. The baby is exposed to the phototherapy and treated. Usually if the baby is a breastfed baby then it takes about a month to complete the treatment and the baby to heal.
If the baby is formula fed the jaundice takes a much lesser time of 2 weeks to go away. However it is a matter of concern if the baby takes more than 3 weeks to recover from the jaundice.
There is a rare case that the person suffering from jaundice dies within the first few weeks after getting it. However, in a time span of 4-6 months, if the person experiences the blockage of common bile duct, then he/she might face deterioration of health on a high pace and eventually die.
When a person develops jaundice, the first instance can be seen in the eyes. The white part of the eye starts turning yellow the moment a person develops jaundice.
It depends on the level of bilirubin in the body which decides the severity of the body parts turning yellow. If the jaundice is mild, then eyes are the only organ that turns yellow.
If the severity increases, the yellowness starts spreading to the other parts of the body. The darkness of the colour is impacted by the severity of the disease.
Jaundice is a disease associated with abnormal conditions of the liver, gallbladder, and blood. It needs to undergo treatment under the supervision of a doctor and the treatment totally depends upon the conditions responsible for it and also the symptoms being shown.
The cost of the treatment usually depends on the treatment plan which may include surgery of the bile duct, blood transfusion or phototherapy, or certain medications. The expense related to the jaundice treatment may vary between rupees 2000 up to 15000 excluding the expenditure due to the changes in the diet post jaundice treatment care.
Summary: Jaundice is a disease associated with abnormal conditions of the liver, gallbladder, and blood. It is related to some risks which include systemic or physiological conditions such as hemolytic anemia, chronic liver hepatitis, and viral hepatitis. The methods of jaundice treatments include phototherapy in infants, intravenous immunoglobulin therapy, blood transfusion, certain medications, and surgical correction of the blocked bile duct.