Jaundice is a disease that causes yellowing of the skin and whitening of the eyes. In most cases, newborns develop jaundice; However, jaundice can occur in people of any age and is usually the result of an underlying disease. In this article, we will get acquainted with the symptoms of jaundice, jaundice in adults and infants, and the methods of its diagnosis and treatment. At the end of the article, we will answer the common questions about jaundice. Stay with us.
Types of jaundice
There are three main types of jaundice:
- کبدیThis type of jaundice is caused by liver disease or injury.
- HemolyticThis type of jaundice occurs as a result of hemolysis or rapid breakdown of red blood cells and leads to increased bilirubin production.
- ObstructiveThis type of jaundice is caused by obstruction of the bile duct and prevents bilirubin from leaving the liver.
Common symptoms include:
- Yellow skin and whites of the eyes (this yellowing of the skin usually starts on the face and spreads to the body);
- Light stools;
- Dark urine;
Symptoms of jaundice due to low bilirubin levels include:
- stomach ache;
- Weight Loss;
- Light stools;
- Dark urine.
Jaundice in adults
Jaundice or jaundice occurs when there is too much bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced by the breakdown of dead red blood cells in the liver. After iron is removed from the blood, the liver purifies bilirubin from the bloodstream; But if something goes wrong and your liver fails to function properly, bilirubin builds up and can cause your skin to turn yellow.
Risk factors for jaundice in adults
Typically, the appearance of jaundice in adults نادر , But you can get it for many reasons:
- hepatitis: In most cases, the infection is caused by a virus. Some medications or autoimmune disorders can cause hepatitis. Over time, this condition can damage the liver and lead to jaundice.
- Alcohol-related liver disease: If you have been consuming alcohol for a long time (usually 8 to 10 years), you should know that doing so will cause serious damage to your liver. Alcohol hepatitis and alcoholic liver cirrhosis are caused by excessive alcohol consumption and can damage your liver and eventually lead to jaundice.
- Bile duct obstruction: The bile ducts are narrow tubes that carry fluid called bile, or bile, from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. Sometimes the bile ducts are blocked by gallstones, cancer or rare liver diseases. By blocking these ducts, the risk of developing jaundice also increases.
- Pancreatic cancer: This type of cancer is the tenth most common cancer in men and the ninth most common cancer in women. This type of cancer can also block the bile duct and cause jaundice.
- Hemolytic anemia: When large amounts of red blood cells are broken down, bilirubin production increases.
Gilbert Syndrome: The disease is inherited and impairs the ability of enzymes to process bile excretion.
- Taking some medications: Drugs such as acetaminophen, penicillin, birth control pills, and steroids have been linked to liver disease.
Rare conditions that may cause jaundice include:
- Kriegler Carpenter Syndrome: This syndrome is an inherited disease that disrupts the specific enzyme responsible for processing bilirubin.
- Suspicion (pseudojaundice): It is a harmless form of jaundice. Yellowing of the skin in this condition is due to an excess of beta-carotene, not bilirubin. Suspicion of jaundice is usually caused by eating large amounts of carrots, squash or melons.
Jaundice in infants
Jaundice is a common problem in newborns. About 60% of infants develop jaundice. Jaundice in preterm infants increases by 80% before 37 weeks of gestation. Jaundice in infants usually shows symptoms within 72 hours of birth. Red blood cells are broken down and replaced in the baby’s body, which increases the production of bilirubin.
Symptoms usually resolve without treatment within 2 weeks; However, infants with very high bilirubin levels need treatment with blood transfusions or phototherapy. Very high levels of bilirubin can expose a baby to deafness, cerebral palsy or other forms of brain damage; Therefore, if the baby has jaundice, the amount of jaundice should be carefully controlled.
Diagnosis of jaundice
Your doctor will order a bilirubin test to diagnose the condition. This test measures the amount of bilirubin in your blood, complete blood count (CBC) and other liver tests. If you have jaundice, your blood bilirubin level will be high.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. It may also order more physical examinations and tests, including imaging tests, to find out the cause.
In adults, jaundice itself is not usually treated, but the doctor treats the disease that caused it.
The method of treatment is determined by the cause of the disease, for example:
- Jaundice from anemia may be treated by increasing the amount of iron in the blood by taking iron supplements or eating foods high in iron.
- Jaundice from hepatitis requires antiviral or steroid medications. If you have acute viral hepatitis, the jaundice will go away on its own as the liver symptoms begin to improve.
- If the bile duct blockage is the source of your jaundice, your doctor may recommend surgery to open the ducts.
- If jaundice is caused by medication, treatment includes the use of an alternative medication.
Complications of jaundice
Complications of jaundice are usually due to the underlying problem that caused the disease, not the jaundice itself! For example, if bile duct obstruction leads to jaundice, uncontrolled bleeding may occur. Bleeding occurs because the obstruction of the ducts causes a lack of the vitamins needed for clotting. Severe itching of the skin and insomnia are also complications of this disease.
Frequently Asked Questions About Jaundice
– Is jaundice contagious?
Jaundice is not contagious in itself, but the underlying conditions that cause it can be contagious.
What to eat to treat jaundice?
Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. Choose fruits such as papaya and mango that are rich in digestive enzymes. Include high-fiber foods such as oats, berries and almonds in your diet. Consumption of nuts, legumes and whole grains is also effective in treating this disease.
What is obstructive jaundice?
Obstructive jaundice or jaundice is a special type of jaundice in which the symptoms are due to narrowing or blockage of the bile ducts or pancreatic duct and prevent the normal emptying of bile from the bloodstream into the intestine.
How often does jaundice in infants go away?
Jaundice usually resolves within 2 weeks in formula-fed infants. In breastfed infants, it may take more than 2 to 3 weeks. If your baby’s jaundice lasts more than 3 weeks, be sure to see your doctor again.
How can we prevent jaundice?
Jaundice is associated with liver function. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain the health of this vital organ by having a balanced diet, regular exercise and not consuming alcohol.
Other sources: healthline