Jaundice (patient information)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Prashanth Saddala M.B.B.S

Jaundice

Overview

What are the symptoms?

What are the causes?

Who is at highest risk?

Diagnosis

When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for Jaundice?

Prevention

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Possible complications

Jaundice On the Web

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Directions to Hospitals Treating Jaundice

Risk calculators and risk factors for Jaundice

Overview

Jaundice is a yellow color of the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes. The yellow coloring comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Jaundice can be a symptom of other health problems.

What are the symptoms of Jaundice

Jaundice may appear suddenly or develop slowly over time. Symptoms of jaundice commonly include:

  • Yellow skin and the white part of the eyes (sclera) -- when jaundice is more severe, these areas may look brown
  • Yellow color inside the mouth
  • Dark or brown-colored urine
  • Pale or clay-colored stools

Note: If the whites of your eyes are not yellow, you may not have jaundice. Your skin can turn a yellow-to-orange color if you eat too much beta carotene, the orange pigment in carrots.

Other symptoms depend on the disorder causing the jaundice:

What causes Jaundice?

Everyday, a small number of red blood cells in your body die, and are replaced by new ones. The liver removes the old blood cells, forming bilirubin. The liver helps break down bilirubin so that it can be removed by the body in the stool.

When too much bilirubin builds up in the body, jaundice may result.

Jaundice can occur if:

Jaundice is often a sign of a problem with the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas. Infections, use of certain drugs, cancer, blood disorders, gallstones, birth defects and a number of other medical conditions can lead to jaundice. For more information on the causes of jaundice see: jaundice causes

Diagnosis

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may reveal liver swelling.

A bilirubin blood test will be done. Other tests vary, but may include:

  • Hepatitis virus panel to look for infection of the liver
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA)

Treatment options

Treatment depends on the cause of the jaundice.

Source

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001259/ Neonatal jaundice (patient information)



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