Jaundice is not fatal. It is a medical condition that leads to the yellowing of the eyes, mucous membranes, as well as the skin. This disorder is commonly associated with high levels of bilirubin in the human blood. This condition itself isn’t deadly; however, if the condition is not treated early enough, it can lead to life-threatening diseases like extensive liver damage. You can develop jaundice at any age.
The Symptoms: How do you know if you have jaundice?
Yellow eyes, very dark urine, and clay colored stools are some of the most common symptoms of jaundice. Remember not to confuse the symptoms of jaundice with that of eating foods containing excess beta-carotene, which is the main cause of an orange pigmentation in crops such as carrots. If you’re suffering from yellow-orange skin, but the whites of your eyes aren’t yellow, you may have consumed an excessive amount of beta-carotene.
The following are other symptoms that are linked to jaundice that can be directly linked to certain medical conditions such as cancer or hepatitis:
What are the causes and risk factors of jaundice?
Jaundice is a strong indication that you have issues with the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. This is attributed to factors, including:
• Cirrhosis, heart failure, cancer, hepatitis, anemia, severe pancreatitis as well as carcinomas.
• Medications that are believed to trigger jaundices. They include hormonal contraceptives, acetaminophen, as well as Dilantin. Other illegal drugs can make users contract to hepatitis, leading to jaundice.
• Surgical procedures such as those done in the upper abdomen.
• Increase in bilirubin levels in the human blood and impaired metabolic processes.
• Infants are prone to getting jaundice during the first 3-5 days after birth. This can be traced to the congenital/common bile duct issues. This condition is also common in older people (60+ years old), which is usually caused by an obstruction or certain deficiencies in their bodies.
Prevention and Treatment
You should seek immediate medical attention so that accurate tests can be carried out to determine if you have jaundice. Promptly identifying and treating jaundice is vital for lasting care as well as prevention. If you leave the symptoms of jaundice untreated for long, things can take a turn for the worse. In fact, certain complications can set in or it can lead to death.
Your doctor will administer treatments based on the underlying conditions and how worse your condition is. Whereas some patients will need medications, others will only require monitoring. If the condition becomes worse, you may be referred for an emergency surgery like a liver transplant. Jaundice can be viewed as a warning indicator for a more serious medical condition.
For babies having too high/quickly rising bilirubin levels, immediate medication should be sought. You are also advised to adequately feed your baby with breast milk and formula to help induce frequent bowel movements. This will help the babies pass bilirubin through their stool. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before going for the extra formula for your newborn.
You can also use the other treatments to curb infant jaundice. Exchange transfusion involves the exchange of baby’s blood with fresh blood so that the level of bilirubin can be lowered. Another option is phototherapy. In this treatment, babies are exposed to special blue lights. These lights will help break down the bilirubin in the babies' skin, where the level of bilirubin has been found to be extremely high.
- The conditions that cause jaundice are cirrhosis, heart failure, cancer, hepatitis, anemia, severe pancreatitis as well as carcinomas.
- The medications that are believed to trigger jaundice include hormonal contraceptives, acetaminophen, and Dilantin. Other illegal drugs can make users contract hepatitis, leading to jaundice.
- Upper abdominal surgical procedures.
- Increase in bilirubin levels in the human blood and impaired metabolic processes.
- Infants are prone to getting jaundice during the first 3-5 days after birth. This can be traced to the congenital/common bile duct issues. This condition is also common in older people (60+ years old), which is usually caused by an obstruction or certain deficiencies in their bodies.