Jaundice could be a sign of serious illness.

A problem related to liver or bile duct, jaundice, happens to people of all ages. There would be various reasons to cause jaundice and may lead to many other related body ailments like vomiting, loss of appetite, extreme weakness, headache, fever, severe constipation, nausea, and yellow discoloration of the eyes, tongue, skin, and urine. Predominantly, these are the symptoms of jaundice found in its onset.

Jaundice is the most common of all liver ailments. Symptoms of jaundice may vary with the cause of this disease since numerous causes are there for liver disinfection. This write-up will contain chief causes and the symptoms come along.

Jaundice which is also called as icterus is actually caused by a yellow-colored waste material investigated in bloodstreams. This by-product is Bilirubin, which normally is metabolized by the liver and excreted in the form of bile. Notwithstanding, if there is a disruption in this normal process of metabolism, jaundice may occur.

Recommended article – Jaundice: Diagnosis and treatments

A mooted fact about this is, generally hailed as disease whereas it is not actually a disease. Indeed, it is a visible sign of other underlying disease processes like malaria, sickle cell, thalassemia, etc. Let’s take a glance at its causes and symptoms.

  1. Pre-hepatic

The intense rise in the breakdown and destruction of the red blood cells called hemolysis, immensely impact the liver’s ability to remove the increased levels of bilirubin from the blood. This phase happens before bile, a digestive juice, made in the liver. It is also called as pre-hepatic phase and the conditions which lead to-

  • Malaria
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Spherocytosis
  • Drugs or other toxins
  • Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD),
  1. Hepatic

This is when the liver is incapable to properly metabolize and excrete bilirubin. It is when the abnormality occurs in the liver. A hepatic condition can lead to-

  • Liver cancer
  • Drugs or other toxins
  • Cirrhosis
  • Acute or chronic hepatitis (Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E)
  • Crigler-Najjar syndrome
  • Gilbert’s syndrome
  • Autoimmune disorder
  1. Post-hepatitis

Jaundice in this phase is the obstructive one. It is caused by conditions which interrupt the normal drainage of conjugated bilirubin in the form of bile from the liver into the intestines. This occurs after bile has been made in the liver. Causes of this jaundice include-

  • Cancer (pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, and bile duct cancer)
  • Gallstones
  • Strictures of the bile ducts
  • Cholangitis
  • Parasites
  • Congenital malformations
  • Pregnancy
  • Newborn jaundice

Newborns with intensely high levels of bilirubin from other medical conditions may suffer dreadful brain damage if the underlying abnormality is not attended on time.

Depending on the underlying cause of jaundice, common symptoms are:

  • Yellow shade of the skin starting at the head and spreading down the body
  • Whites of the eyes
  • Abdominal pain indicates a blockage of the bile duct
  • Paler stools than usual
  • Dark urine
  • Weight loss
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Itchiness
  • Changes in muscle tone
  • High pitched crying
  • Seizures

These are the signs and symptoms of jaundice found in individuals from newborn to adults.

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