Liver - anatomy and relation with jaundice

Jaundice is a disease and also a sign of an underlying medical condition. Jaundice causes yellow discoloration of the skin which is caused by increased bilirubin levels in the blood. There are mainly three types of jaundice – pre-hepatic, intra-hepatic and post-hepatic, depending on the site of the problem in relation to the liver.

Jaundice can be caused in adults as well as infants. Some of the major symptoms of jaundice are skin and eyes yellowing, fatigue, fever and abdomen pain.

Certain medications, antibiotics and possibly surgery are used to treat the medical conditions which cause jaundice. The condition of the liver improves over time.

Understanding Jaundice and its symptoms.

Source: WS Westwood

Symptoms


Jaundice- Skin discoloration is the main symptom of Jaundice

The most common symptom of jaundice is the yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes. Other symptoms of jaundice include:

  1. Tiredness or fatigue
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Constipation or stomach trouble
  4. Light color of the stool or dark colored urine
  5. Fever
  6. Abdominal pain
  7. Feeling of irritation and drowsiness
  8. Itchiness
  9. Bruising or bleeding easily

Causes


Gallstones- one of the causes of jaundice

Jaundice is the yellow discoloration of the skin caused by increased levels of bilirubin in the blood. Jaundice is usually caused by an underlying medical condition such as:

1. Inflammation of the liver.

2. Inflammation of the bile duct.

3. Obstruction in the bile duct.

4. Hemolytic anemia.

5. Hepatitis A.

6. Hepatitis B.

7. Inherited- Wilson’s disease, alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency.

8. Autoimmune- Primary biliary cirrhosis, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, SLE.

9. Metabolic- Hemochromatosis.

Treatment


Jaundice in new borns can be treated with photo therapy

The treatment of jaundice varies depending on the underlying medical condition. Once the cause of jaundice is diagnosed, the course of the treatment can be prepared. In most cases where the jaundice is caused by a viral infection, there is no treatment required and the jaundice will disappear gradually.

However in other cases there are various medications and antibiotics used to treat the conditions which cause jaundice. Unlike in adults, if infants have high bilirubin levels they are treated with photo-therapy or an exchange transfusion.

There are some home remedies which may help with jaundice, like eating ‘amla’ or ‘tulsi’ and drinking sugarcane or radish juice.

Prevention


Jaundice- say no to drugs to prevent jaundice

Preventing jaundice means preventing the medical conditions which may cause jaundice. Taking care of the liver and some measures which can help to prevent jaundice include:

  1. Avoiding alcohol consumption or limiting it to a permissible limit.
  2. Taking vaccinations of the liver diseases such as hepatitis A.
  3. Avoiding food and water from unhygienic sources.
  4. Practicing safe sex.
  5. Not sharing or using contaminated needles.

 

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