Jaundice is a medical term when an individual has a yellowish pigmentation change to the skin.
Jaundice is also known as icterus.
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 cause to improve symptoms.
- Seek medical attention in most cases.