Jaundice, also known as icterus, a term used to represent the yellowish color of skin, sclerae (white part of the eye) and other mucous membranes.Body fluids may also change to yellow color. It is caused due to the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood and body’s tissues. Bilirubin is a waste product generated in the normal process of red blood cells break down. It is then transported to the liver through blood stream where it is combined with a digestive fluid called bile. Most bilirubin is discharged through the stool and remaining is excreted through urine.If bilirubin cannot be propelled through the liver, it gets accumulated in the blood causing Jaundice.
Jaundice is more common in newborns babies mainly caused when their body has more bilirubin.
Symptoms of Jaundice
Common signs or symptoms of Jaundice in adults –
- Skin and sclerae color changes to yellow.
- Urine color also changes to yellow.
- Itching of the skin.
Following symptoms may be observed in the initial stages of jaundice:
- Abdominal pain.
- Weight loss.
- Drowsiness, agitation, and confusion.
The color of skin and eyes turns to yellow within one or two days. It is always advised to check whether the baby is suffering from jaundice or not by pressing lightly on the chin of the baby. If the color changes to yellow for a fraction of seconds, it is suspected that the child is suffering from jaundice.
Additional symptoms that can be observed in infants are
- Crying loudly.
- Change in skin tone.
- Poor feeding.
- Urine color changes to yellow.
Types of Jaundice and Treatment
Jaundice could be classified into three categories based on the part that is affected. Treatment of jaundice depends upon the underlying cause of it i.e., type of jaundice.
- Hepatocellular jaundice: It occurs as a result of liver damage or injury. Liver generally damages due to infections, consumption of alcohol and other harmful things. This can be treated by liver transplantation the or repairing the liver. The aim of treatment is to control further damage.
- Hemolytic Jaundice: It occurs when erythrocytes or red blood cells break down at an accelerated, resulting in producing more bilirubin. This occurs due to infectious diseases such as malaria, anaemia etc. This can also be treated by treating the specific cause.
- Obstructive Jaundice: This occurs when bilirubin is blocked and unable to discharge from the liver. Surgery is performed to clear the blockage and to clear the bile duct system. Surgery includes removing the gallbladder or a part of bile duct system.
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