In this post, we will discuss basic facts of Jaundice like its sign and symptoms,causes of Jaundice, diagnosis of jaundice etc.
What is Jaundice?
Jaundice can occur in babies, children, and adults. Jaundice is not an illness in itself, but a medical condition in which too much bilirubin — a compound produced by the breakdown of hemoglobin from red blood cells — is circulating in the blood. The excess bilirubin causes the skin, eyes, and mucus membranes in the mouth to turn a yellowish color. Because bilirubin is processed by the liver, the symptoms of jaundice may indicate damage to the liver in adults.
Types of jaundice
There are three types of jaundice depending on what’s disrupting the normal removal of bilirubin from the body. They are:
1. pre-hepatic jaundice – the disruption happens before bilirubin has been transported from the blood to the liver; it’s caused by conditions such as sickle cell anaemia and haemolytic anaemia
2. intra-hepatic jaundice (also known as hepatocellular jaundice) – the disruption happens inside the liver; it’s caused by conditions such as Gilbert’s syndrome, cirrhosis or other liver damage
3. post-hepatic jaundice (also known as obstructive jaundice) – the disruption prevents the bile (and the bilirubin inside it) from draining out of the gallbladder and into the digestive system; it’s caused by conditions such as gallstones or tumours
Jaundice-Signs and symptoms
The main symptom of jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the white area of the eye and the skin.
Urine is dark in colour.
Slight increases in serum bilirubin are best detected by examining the sclerae, which have a particular affinity for bilirubin due to their high elastin content.
The presence of scleral icterus indicates a serum bilirubin of at least 3 mg/dL.
The conjunctiva of the eye are one of the first tissues to change color as bilirubin levels rise in jaundice.
Causes of jaundice
Old red blood cells travel to your liver, where they’re broken down. Bilirubin is the yellow pigment formed by the breakdown of these old cells. Jaundice occurs when your liver doesn’t metabolize bilirubin the way it’s supposed to.
Your liver might be damaged and unable to perform this process. Sometimes, the bilirubin simply can’t make it to your digestive tract, where it normally would be removed through your stool. In other cases, there may be too much bilirubin trying to enter the liver at once, or too many red blood cells dying at one time.
Jaundice-Tests and diagnosis
Your doctor will first conduct blood tests to determine the cause of your jaundice. A blood test can not only determine the total amount of bilirubin in your body, but it can also help detect indicators of other diseases such as hepatitis.
Other diagnostic tests may be used, including:
liver function tests: a series of blood tests that measure levels of certain proteins and enzymes the liver produces when it’s healthy and when it’s damaged
complete blood count (CBC): to see if you have any evidence of hemolytic anemia
It’s not possible to prevent all cases of jaundice because it can be caused by a wide range of conditions or circumstances.
However, you can take precautions to minimise your risk of developing jaundice. These include:
1. ensuring you don’t exceed the recommended daily amount (RDA) for alcohol consumption
2. maintaining a healthy weight for your height and build