What is Jaundice? Jaundice, also known as “jaundice” or “dihydro-jaundice” is a medical condition where the body’s skin, especially the skin and placenta, turns yellow. This yellowish color is caused primarily by a very high level of bilirubin – a purplish-yellow bile pigment generated from the breakdown of red blood cells within the liver.
Bilirubin is produced from the breaking down of red blood cells within the liver. Consuming foods that are high in cholesterol can result in the buildup of cholesterol in the blood, which can then deposit in and around the placenta, causing the initial symptoms of Jaundice.
The symptoms of jaundice typically manifest in people from their 20s or older. The initial appearance of jaundice will be an itchy rash in the abdomen that becomes more visible as time passes. Some people will experience cramps and nausea as well. If left untreated, the symptoms of jaundice will begin to intensify. They can eventually become so bad that they prevent people from performing daily tasks such as walking.
Jaundice in children is generally less noticeable than it is in adults, because children tend to not have their liver as developed. In addition, children’s bodies may not have had time to accumulate high levels of bilirubin as much as adult’s bodies. Most symptoms in adults can be relieved with diet and/or medications, although treatment for adults should involve consultation with a physician. Symptoms in children may include pale skin color, dehydration, cramps and vomiting. Infants may suffer from mild fever, enlarged livers, vomiting and/or diarrhea. A general feeling of tiredness may also occur.
The medical term “jaundice” simply refers to excessive cell turnover (cell turnover rate). The excessive production of skin cells, red blood cells (RBCs), and platelets is what causes the presence of “jaundice.” These changes may indicate that there is an illness that needs to be assessed by your physician. A thorough check of your blood count, serum chemistry and blood culture can help determine whether or not you do have this complex liver disease. There are several ways to test for jaundice.
One of the most definitive tests for jaundice is testing your urine. Urine can act as a good indicator of liver function, as it is often the first thing to show up after you pass a bowel motion. Many doctors will perform a blood test to confirm the results of the urine test. There are also laboratory tests available for more advanced testing.
Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of jaundice. If you experience any of these symptoms along with complete darkness or light-colored urine, you should get further tests to rule out other possible conditions. Ultrasound and electron microscopy can both detect the presence of cysts, kidney stones or other potential problems. If you do have a fever, it is likely that the symptoms are those of a serious viral or bacterial infection that has caused your jaundice.
Unlike children, which can develop jaundice due to a viral infection, adults can’t develop the condition if they are infected with hepatitis C or HIV. However, an untreated case of jaundice in an adult can be caused by an auto-immune disorder such as multiple sclerosis or Lupus. Auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis cause inflammation of the body; Lupus causes inflammation of the joints. Both of these conditions are potentially dangerous, so if you experience jaundice and find that you are suffering from another medical condition, you should make an appointment with your doctor immediately to determine whether the symptoms are caused by one of these conditions or if they are a symptom of jaundice.
Women who became pregnant during the time that they first gave birth are at much higher risk of developing jaundice during their pregnancy than women who hadn’t given birth before. Women who were African American, Native American, or American Indian during their pregnancy also had increased risks of developing this disease. Premature infants and newborns are also at greater risk of developing this condition. Other factors that increase the risk of jaundice in infants and newborns include chronic liver disease and poor blood circulation in the umbilical cord.