Jaundice is a condition where the whites of the eyes and skin become yellow tinged and the urine becomes a dark tea colour.
What Causes Jaundice?
Jaundice is caused by a build up of liver metabolites. When your liver breaks down blood cells a byproduct called bilirubin is produced. Normally the body can eliminate the bilirubin, along with the dead blood cells, but in certain conditions this does not happen and because the bilirubin has a yellow pigment, so its build up causes this change in colour to the eyes and skin.
Why might I have Jaundice?
- Liver infection
- Liver cancer
- Alcohol abuse
- Cirrhosis scarring of the liver
- Pancreatic cancer
- Parasites in the liver
- Blood disorder
- Adverse reaction to certain medications
Remember that newborn babies often have jaundice. Babies jaundice is different from adults and is not usually caused by an underlying medical condition because their livers haven’t fully developed yet and the blood cells change at birth.
How is Jaundice Diagnosed?
Blood tests are taken to measure the levels of bilirubin in your blood and to test for possible causes.
How is Jaundice Treated?
How jaundice is treated will depend on the underlying cause of the jaundice. Your specialist will treat the cause of the jaundice, rather than the symptom itself.
It is very important to treat the cause because ongoing jaundice can, in rare cases, lead to brain damage.