Healthy Living

Is Jaundice Associated with Other Medical Conditions?

Jaundice

 Is Jaundice Associated with Other Medical Conditions?

Key Takeaways

Jaundice is a condition that’s characterized by the yellowing of the skin and certain parts of the eyes. Jaundice itself isn’t a disease but it is an indication of possible underlying diseases. It develops when there’s excessive bilirubin in the body. The following medical conditions are responsible for the occurrence of jaundice:

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition affecting the liver. It’s caused by an excessive consumption of alcohol over a long period of time. In case you have this condition, it would be wise to quit drinking completely. Continued drinking might lead to more health complications like liver failure or cirrhosis.

The processing of alcohol by the liver results in the production of highly toxic substances, which are harmful to the liver cells. This injury then leads to a severe liver inflammation or even alcoholic hepatitis. Though heavy drinking triggers alcoholic hepatitis, medical experts aren’t very sure of the exact cause of this condition. However, alcoholic hepatitis affects only a small fraction of heavy drinkers. It can develop among people who drink moderately as well.

Biliary Obstruction

Biliary obstruction causes blockage of the patient’s bile ducts, which are responsible for carrying bile from the liver through the pancreas and finally to the duodenum. Bile is a fluid secreted by the liver and is responsible for digesting fats.

Most conditions that are linked to biliary obstruction can effectively be treated. Nevertheless, if the blockage goes untreated for a long time, it might lead to deadly disorders of the liver.

Cirrhosis

This is a serious liver condition that’s caused by a detrimental liver dysfunction. The condition is also accompanied with severe scarring, which is often triggered by persistent exposure to toxins like viral infections and alcohol. Since cirrhosis affects the liver, which performs essential body functions like blood purification, it may lead to jaundice.

Idiopathic Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

This condition occurs when the body itself destroys red blood cells at a much faster rate than it actually produces them. It’s called idiopathic since the exact cause isn’t known.

An autoimmune disease is a disorder wherein cells attack other cells in your body. Your immune system releases antibodies to help fight foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. People with autoimmune diseases produce antibodies that injure the body itself.

Idiopathic anemia can pose life-threatening dangers due to its sudden onset. It demands urgent medical attention or even hospitalization.

Drug-Induced Hemolytic Anemia

This is a very rare disorder. It is estimated that one out of a million people have the condition. It develops when certain prescribed medications cause your body’s defense system to erroneously attack its own blood cells.

Certain drugs can make the immune system confuse the red blood cells with foreign invaders and this triggers the antibodies to destroy them. This causes your defense system to rapidly breakdown the body’s red blood cells, resulting in anemia, which is a condition that manifests when there is an insufficient flow of oxygen. Stopping the medication is the only sure way to prevent anemia, but some situations necessitate the transfusion of blood.

Jaundice is not a disease. It occurs due to several underlying conditions. Therefore, treating such conditions is the only way to manage jaundice. If you think the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to jaundice, be quick to consult your doctor for a sure diagnosis.