Jaundice – Causes, symptoms, and treatment

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Jaundice is the yellow coloration of the skin and whites of the eyes due to an increase in the blood bilirubin level. Jaundice first appears in the face, particularly the eyes, as the bilirubin level in the blood increases, it shows in the rest of the body.
Jaundice is not considered as a disease, but rather a symptom of another disease /disorder.

Causes of jaundice
The main causes of jaundice can be classified into three, and they include

Excessive breakdown of red blood cells: This causes the formation of large amounts of bilirubin. Such excessive destruction of red blood cells may occur during a malarial bout, in newborn babies and in sickle-cell anaemia {an inherited defect of the red blood cells}.
Certain poisons too can cause excessive breakdown of red blood cells. This cause of jaundice makes the stool to be dark due to the excretion of large amount of bilirubin via bile.

Obstrution of the bile duct: This is usually due to the blockage of the bile ducts by gall stones. These calculi or stones prevent the bile from emptying into the intestines, thus, raising the blood level of bilirubin. In this case, the stools are pale /light and contain undigested fats, while the urine is dark yellow or brown.

Diseases of the liver: This damages liver cells so that their ability to extract bilirubin from the blood to form bile is reduced, thus, raising blood bilirubin level.
Pale stools are also observed, which contains undigested fatty substances.

Certain disorders /diseases can bring about jaundice.
In the following cases, jaundice appears as a symptom /sign of another disorder. These disorders includes :

• Chronic liver diseases
• Inflammation of the bile duct or liver
• Blockage of the bile ducts {gall stones}
• Drugs impact, and
• Genetic disorders.

Symptoms of jaundice
The symptoms of jaundice includes :

• Itcing {known medically as pruritis}, which is very severe and irritating
• Yellowing of the skin and white of the eyes
• Light /pale stool color
• Dark colored urine, which is due to the elimination of excess bilirubin through the urine.

Treatment of jaundice
The treatment of jaundice varies with the cause of the jaundice. A patient is advised to consult a medical doctor for diagnosis in order to confirm the cause, and take proper steps towards eradicating it.
For instance, if the jaundice was caused due to the blockage of the bile duct by gall stones, then its treatment will be the removal or dissolving of the gallstones.

Recommended diet for jaundice patients
There are certain foods in general which help in preventing liver diseases, and thus a very wise step in reducing the risk of jaundice, as it initiates as a symptom of these diseases.
The following will be found helpful :

INCREASE the intake of:
» vegetables
» fruits
» whole grains
» onion
» artichoke
» olive oil
» lecithin
» honey
» loquat
» apple
» grape


REDUCE /ELIMINATE:
» alcoholic beverages
» total fat
» proteins
» salt
» meat
» cream
» butter
» fried foods
» spices
» shellfish
» bacon

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