Jaundice is a medical term when an individual has a yellowish pigmentation change to the skin.
Jaundice is also known as icterus. The word comes from the french word meaning yellow – jaune.
The cause of jaundice includes an increased level of bilirubin in the blood. [Hyperbilirubinemia]
With the increase of bilirubin in the body – this transfers into the extracellular fluid around the body.
Typically but not always – has something to do with the liver
Areas of the skin that can retain a yellowish color include:
1.) Conjunctival membrane
2.) Mucus membrane
3.) Overall pigmentation of skin
Diseases that typically cause Jaundice:
2.) Chronic Hepatitis
3.) Alcohol induced liver disease
4.) Liver Cancer
5.) Obstruction of biliary tract [usually by gallstones]
6.) Pancreatic Cancer
– Is when the conjunctiva of the eye changes.
– Often one of the first changes seen.
– The area of of the eye that changes color is the conjunctival membrane overlying the eye.
Catagories of Jaundice
2.) Hepatic or Hepatocellular
– This reaction occurs somewhere before the liver.
– An increased rate of the breakdown of red blood cells [hemolysis]
– This breakdown can casue an increase in bilirubin
– Therefore this is termed jaundice secondary to hemolysis – then the cause needs to be identified.
Causes of Pre-Hepatic Jaundice:
– Sickle Cell anemia
– Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
– Gilbert’s syndrome
– Crigler-Najjar syndrome
– Also referred to as Hepatocellular jaundice – causes in the liver
– Death or destruction of the liver cell reduces its ability to function properly.
– The liver typically metabolizes and helps excrete bilirubin on a daily basis.
– When cell damage occurs – the liver can not get rid of the unconjugated bilirubin in the blood.
Causes Hepatic Jaundice:
– Acute Hepatitis
– Alcoholic Liver Disease
– Primary biliary cirrhosis
– Problems occur after the liver or obstructive jaundice.
– Occurs when a blockage or stoppage of the draining of bile.
– Urobilinogen, instead of being released into the urine, is released into general circulation.
– Conjugated bilirubin will be found in urine – this points to either intra-hepatic or post-herpatic cause.
– Pale Stools
– Dark urine
– Elevated cholesterol in serum
– Severe itching [pruritus]
Causes of Post-Hepatic Jaundice:
– Gallstones to common bile duct
– Pancreatic Cancer
– Parasites – liver flukes that are living in the common bile duct
– Ductal carcinoma
– Biliary atresia
– Mirizzi’s syndrome – very rare
Complications of Jaundice
2.) Renal failure
3.) Liver failure
4.) Biliary Cirrhosis
– Depends on underlining cause
– Treat the cause in-order-to improve the symptoms.
– Seek medical attention in most cases.