[toc]Are you suffering from loss of appetite? Do you feel the urge to vomit after every meal? Has anyone told you that your face and eyes look yellow? Probably you have jaundice, although these symptoms are not enough to come to any conclusion. Jaundice is the symptom of an underlying medical condition.
It is a medical problem primarily associated with the liver and the gallbladder. The most prominent symptom of jaundice is yellowish skin, eyes and nails due to bile pigmentation or hyperbilirubinemia in the fatty layer beneath the skin. In other words, it is caused due to excess bilirubin in the blood.
Signs and Symptoms of Jaundice
A yellow tinge on various parts of the body, especially the skin, white part of the eyes, nails in the fingers and toes, mucous membranes in the mouth and the nose are the early signs of jaundice. A remarkable change can also be seen in the color of the stool and urine as the stool appears a little pale, while the urine turns out to be darker.
A person suffering from jaundice may also experience some other issues like fever, loss of appetite, stomach ache, chills, body weakness, weight-loss, etc.
Causes of Jaundice
When red blood cells breaks down, a waste by-product called bilirubin is produced. This phenomenon takes place in a 120-day cycle. The blood then carries this bilirubin to the liver where it is combined with a digestive fluid called bile, with the aid of some specialized cells. This mixture then passes out of the body as urine or stool, giving them a brown and light yellow color, respectively.
However, if any disruption occurs in this process due to any infection, disorder or damage, it may lead to jaundice. Other underlying conditions that may lead to jaundice are eating unhealthy food that affects our liver and the digestive system, some prolonged diseases, consumption of alcohol, etc.
Types of Jaundice
If the red blood cells break down sooner than it normally does, the level of bilirubin shoots up. In other words, disruption takes place before bilirubin reaches the liver through the bloodstream, leading to pre-hepatic jaundice. The medical conditions that usually triggers this type of jaundice are sickle cell anaemia, malaria, thalassaemia, hereditary spherocytosis, etc.
Intra-hepatic jaundice is caused due to under-production of bilirubin due to liver damage. The damage may be caused due to medical conditions like cirrhosis, hepatitis, gilbert’s syndrome, glandular fever, liver cancer, and paracetamol overdose. Consumption of alcohol may also lead to liver diseases which can damage the liver and attribute to intra-hepatic jaundice.
Post-hepatic jaundice or obstructive jaundice is caused when the outflow of bile in the biliary system is disrupted. This may be caused due to gallstones in the bile duct, cancers of the gallbladder, tumours, pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis or ductal careinoma.
Alcoholic people are more prone to this type of jaundice as it enlarges the liver and makes it tender. The common symptoms of this type of jaundice are dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, etc. However, these signs and symptoms depends on the severity of illness. In extreme cases, the patient may also die.