Jaundice – Causes, Treatment and Symptoms

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Jaundice is Yellowish

Not all that is yellow is good for the eyesight. Not all that seemed to be pale and yellow is anemia. So what it could be? Jaundice is also yellowish.

What is jaundice?

Jaundice is characterized by yellowing of the skin and the sclera or whites of the eyes. It is not a disease but only a sign to many other different diseases. Jaundice is caused by the high level of chemical bilirubin in the blood. Depending on the level of the chemical, the yellow pigmentation of the skin and the sclera may vary. When it is too high, it could appear as brown and not yellow.

Causes of Jaundice

The high level of bilirubin is the main cause of jaundice. However, it is better that we are able to understand how this chemical component of the blood is being released. The red blood cells are the ones responsible with the bilirubin. When these cells get old, they are naturally destroyed. Since the blood cells are the carriers of iron-content called hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood, this chemical is released from the destroyed cells. When the iron is removed, the remaining chemical content is called bilirubin.

Moreover, the liver has also a very important function in developing jaundice. The liver is tasked to remove waste from the body specifically in the blood stream. As discussed above, bilirubin is a waste product of destroyed red blood cells. The liver should be removing the bilirubin from the blood and excrete it through the feces.

Jaundice occurs when there is too many red blood cells destroyed and its waste product is too much for the liver to remove. Also, when the liver malfunctions and is not fit to remove the bilirubin in the blood, thus it accumulates in the blood. Lastly, blockage in the bile ducts that cause the flow of the bile and bilirubin to decrease.

Jaundice Causing Problems

Jaundice is only a symptom to more serious ailments. Jaundice or cholestasis causes other problems other than the yellowing of the skin and the sclera of the eye. The stool could also become pale in color when bilirubin is absent or become too brownish because of too much bilirubin. The urine is also affected as its color could also become dark yellow or brownish.

Jaundice , other than the coloring, is frequently associated with itching called pruritus. This condition can sometimes become severe that the patient could not scratch their skin. Others could have trouble sleeping. When the jaundice is caused by liver disease, the patient could experience fatigue, swelling of ankles, muscle wasting, fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity, bleeding in to intestine and worse, coma. When the blockage of the bile ducts is causing the jaundice, it can be concluded that there is not bile entering the intestine. Bile is necessary in the digestion of fat and releasing vitamins within the small intestines.

Other Diseases and Factors that Cause Jaundice

There are many drugs that can cause jaundice. Some drugs could leave the liver an inflammation or hepatitis almost similar to hepatitis caused by virus. Still other drugs could affect the bile ducts and also leave them inflamed. The only treatment to this kind of condition is to discontinue usage of such drugs. However, it would still take a few weeks before the bilirubin is back to its normal level.

Another factor is genetic disorders. One of these genetic disorders is the defect in bilirubin conjugation in the liver caused by the reduction of the enzyme for conjugating bilirubin and glucoronic. This condition is referred to as Gilbert’s syndrome.

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Source by Dr John Anne