What is a Jaundice?
This medical occurrence does not come about on its own; it is a symptom of other, more serious diseases and infections. Indeed, if you are suffering from gallbladder or liver disorders, like gallstones or hepatitis respectively, jaundice may appear. When the dead RBCs (red blood cells) start breaking down inside of your liver, it creates bilirubin.
Consequently, when there is too much of this in your system, a yellowish discoloration would appear in your body. Not to mention, jaundice itself is not harmful in most cases, but sometimes it is a sign of severe problems.
Jaundice is essentially the medical term given to a symptomatic condition that appears as yellow coloring on the body. Specifically, it is visible in the white portion of your eyes, and on your skin as well. However, while it may look like a worrying disease, it is not one itself but a symptom for underlying ones.
In this article, you would learn much about this medical condition and otherjaundice symptoms and treatment for better comprehension.
1. Jaundice in Newborn Babies & Adult
To point out, jaundice may appear due to different causes and in various victims. Things like age do not play a role in this determination, and some specific diseases can cause jaundice in children too. Of course, adults are the most affected, owing to a diverse list of issues that can affect their health.
Jaundice in children generally occurs in the really young kids, specifically soon after their birth. Surely, while most of the time this is not too worrying as the discoloration disappears soon, it is harmful in some cases. Still, you can focus on some jaundice treatment home remedies to properly take care of your newborn baby.
Markedly, this condition is fairly common for young newborns, mostly for those who were born prematurely (below 37 weeks). This is visible early, within three days of birth, and usually goes away on its own. However, in cases that it does not, extra treatment is necessary like phototherapy or transfusion. Two of the main types of jaundice found in babies are named as breast milk jaundice and newborn jaundice.
On the other hand, the types available in adults are several, mostly because the causes fro such are more as well. Also, some of the diseases that showcase jaundice symptoms have complex reasons behind them. Issues like cancer, liver failure, failure of other treatment plans, and many more situations cause this.
2. Causes of Jaundice
Usually, the secretion of bilirubin is not something harmful; it occurs when the RBCs die after its regular cycle. Generally, this bilirubin is then excreted out of your body with the other dead RBCs through your urinary tract. Some ayurvedic medicines can help lessen the situation if the jaundice types are diagnosed early from this excretion. The gall bladder creates bile, which mixes with this matter and falls in line for discharge through urine and feces.
However, the problem arises when your body is suffering from some sort of pre-existing medical problem. Some of them include conditions like hepatitis, hepatitis B, Thalassemia, pancreatic cancer, acute pancreatitis, etc. Furthermore, the causes for each are different, targeting mainly on the liver functions, and organs like the pancreas, gallbladder, and a few others.
While some occur due to inherent health conditions like a lower immune system, others occur through the misuse of personal health. For example, if you drink regularly, that leads to acute pancreatitis, or a bad blood transfusion can cause an ABO incompatibility reaction. Thus, doctors diagnose the jaundice test by checking for these other diseases first.
3. Signs and Symptoms of Jaundice
To be specific, the most commonly known symptom, if you are suffering from jaundice, is a yellow tint to your body. However, there are many more specific signs that can help you answer this doubt more clearly. The indications for smaller-risk jaundice include flu symptoms like chills and fever, dark urine, pain in the abdomen, etc.
This is visible in the question of infection-related jaundice, while ones without include itchiness and weight loss too. Nevertheless, in more specified medical cases that include liver issues, the jaundice symptoms and treatment focus on more long-lasting conditions. Notably, these include types of hepatitis (A, B, C, or chronic), a skin-disease named Pyoderma gangrenosum, and joint inflammation.
4. Jaundice Diagnosis
Of course, jaundice is not a regular disease, which implies that it cannot get tested through one or two methods. After all, it is a condition that shows itself when paired with another underlying disease of a patient. Yet, there are some main types of jaundice assessment methods for adults and they are mentioned accordingly.
1. Visible checking –
In the first stage of the diagnosis, doctors notice the outer symptoms first. To be specific, people who have jaundice would display a yellow coloring in their outer body and eyes. Therefore, to understand which liver issue is causing that, doctors would check for bruises too. Also, conditions like Palmar erythema (fingertips and palm getting red) and Spider angiomas are signs of this medical matter.
2. Sample tests –
This includes testing methods like Serum Bilirubin or Liver function test & urinalysis. After all, it is the most useful way to check the functioning of your liver and bilirubin density. Additionally, the Blood testing would occur subsequently to detect cause of jaundice.
3. Advanced tests –
In more complicated cases, imaging is the best option for doctors to diagnose their patients. They can check the function of the patient’s liver, and see how it has changed during jaundice. Accordingly, CT scans, MRI scan or ultrasonography are the imaging tests that are operated in this matter. Also, doctors can take a core of liver tissue called liver biopsy to do further diagnosis.
5. Risk factors/complications
There are some main risk factors that you need to stay wary of, as they can allow for jaundice to occur. In fact, some of them are very common, while a few others are special cases visible in certain circumstances only. The latter is highly rare though, and sometimes diagnosing them takes time. Therefore, for faster and proper jaundice treatment in adults, these are what you need to look out for.
The blood carrying the bilirubin cannot leave the liver and stays inside.
ii. Bile duct obstruction or inflammation
iv. Hemolytic anemia
v. Pseudojaundice –
This is rarely visible, formed due to too much beta-carotene, after eating a lot of melon or carrots.
vi. Crigler-Najjar syndrome –
This occurs rarely too after the enzyme secreting bilirubin stops working due to an inherited condition.
6. Types of Jaundice
Certainly, you would see different jaundice types in both adults and children, and they are specific in character.
1. Pre-hepatic Jaundice –
Of the jaundice types, this particular one happens when your hemolysis rate increases, causing increased bilirubin production. To put it simply, some pre-existing issues cause the hemoglobin to develop into bilirubin instead rather than its usual functioning. Thus, if you are suffering from itchiness, sudden weight loss, abdominal pain, chills, and fever, etc., consult a doctor immediately.
For more surety, consider if you ever used drugs, went to a malaria-infested region, or have blood disorder in the family. Then, the doctor would diagnose you via methods like imaging or blood tests, HIDA scanning, or urinalysis, depending on your symptoms. The common treatment methods for this are blood transfusion, disease-centric medications, hydration through IV, and others.
2. Hepatic Jaundice –
If you have inflammation in the liver like NASH; infection in liver or cirrhosis in the liver, it means it is damaged and cannot effectively produce bilirubin. As a result, this type of jaundice occurs, and the common symptoms are muscular or joint pain, dark urine, tiredness, itchy skin, etc. Thus, notice if you have used any medicines previously that badly affected your liver, have consumed drugs or alcohol or had previous infections.
Generally, doctors would use tests like blood tests, urinalysis, imaging tests, or endoscopy to diagnose you. Consequently, on the basis of that result, they would prescribe treatment plans including antiviral medications (viral hepatitis), antibiotics (infection), chemotherapy (cancer), etc. However, the first step to proper jaundice treatment at home is to stop drinking and even use homeopathic supplements.
3. Post-hepatic Jaundice –
Post-hepatic jaundice occurs due to a blockage in the bile duct or digestive tract., and thus, the bilirubin cannot travel. Cancer in the pancreas or bile duct, biliary atresia, gallstones, etc., are some common causes. In fact, if you smoke or drink heavily, are suffering from obesity, have gotten exposure to chemicals from industries, etc., you are more at risk.
Definitely, go to the doctor when you see signs like a pale stool or dark urine, swollen abdomen, diarrhea, weight loss, or sickness symptoms. The doctor would advise and administer tests like endoscopy, imaging tests, blood tests, and urinalysis to catch it. Furthermore, they would suggest treatment according to your diagnosis, ranging from surgery, IV Antibiotic, Endoscopy procedures like ERCP; radiationetc.
4. Neonatal Jaundice –
As the name suggests, this type of Jaundice is visible in the newborn children when their RBC count is not up to regular standards. Owing to this, the bilirubin processing is slow, which results in symptoms like fever, throwing up, feeding difficulty, and an arch in their back and neck. While it is not worrisome in most cases, the severe ones can lead to brain damage if the bilirubin enters the cranial region. Thus, if these symptoms of jaundice in baby appear, consult your doctor immediately.
7. Jaundice Treatment
As mentioned earlier, treatment for jaundice is not specific, as this condition is a symptom itself. Thus, the best way of treatment is to diagnose your actual condition. Usually, no extra treatments are necessary as the conditions improve on its own, but you should consult your doctor firsthand.
8. Prevention of Jaundice
Indeed, depending on your condition and situation, you can do some things that can improve your lifestyle. Thus, the prevention of jaundice is easier if you follow these plans.
-Try to avoid any infections when you have hepatitis.
-You should stop your alcohol intake completely.
-Exercise and have healthy food to avoid cholesterol build-up.
-Maintaining a good weight is important.
-Hydrate your body regularly by drinking at least 8 full glasses every day.
-Follow a jaundice diet, which implies eating more high-fiber foods. These include items like almonds, berries, or oatmeal.
-Also, enter healthy items in your diet that have great nutritious value, for better metabolism. Fruits like mango or papaya would improve your digestive capabilities.
-Moreover, eat lots of vegetables every day, or more specifically, at least two and a half cups worth. Additionally, do the same for fruits too, and maintain that diet regularly.
A liver transplant is an operation that involves the replacement of a patient's diseased liver with either a whole or partial healthy liver from a donor.
Dr. Bipin Vibhute
Liver & Multiorgan Transplant Surgeon
Dr. Aniruddha Bhosale
Consultant Liver & GI surgery
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Liver and Multi Organ Transplant
Dr. Abhijit Mane
Asst Consultant Liver & Multiorgan Transplant
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Consultant Liver Transplantation Anaesthesia & Critical Care
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Dr. Bipin Vibhute
Liver & Multiorgan Transplant Surgeon
A liver transplant is an operation that replaces a patient’s diseased liver with a whole or partial healthy operation that replaces.
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