Jaundice is a health condition characterized by certain changes such as the skin and the white part of the eyes turning yellow. Asides, these easily visible signs, body fluids may also turn yellow. Jaundice develops when the body does not process bilirubin adequately. Bilirubin is a yellow-colored waste material that remains in the bloodstream after iron is eliminated. The yellowness varies and depends on the bilirubin levels in the body. This substance, present in the blood, when in moderate quality, leads to a yellowish tint in the skin and eyes. The yellow becomes brown when bilirubin becomes excessive. Liver inflammation or an obstructed bile duct are major causes of this condition. Gallbladder problems also cause jaundice. Jaundice is experienced by babies and adults. Neonatal jaundice, as experienced by newborns, is not considered a life-threatening disease, unlike that which is experienced by adults. Neonatal jaundice improves over time without creating any conflicting effects. Many studies have linked this condition with problems in the liver which is called icterus.
Are there Types of Jaundice?
Yes, jaundice has three types. Let`s see them.
- Hemolytic jaundice
- Obstructive jaundice
- Hepatocellular jaundice
This is a result of hemolysis or breakdown of red blood cells that lead to excessive production of bilirubin.
This type of jaundice occurs due to an obstruction in the bile duct. This condition prevents bilirubin secretion from the liver.
This type of jaundice happens as a result of liver injury or disease.
What Causes Jaundice?
Production of bilirubin or an inability of the liver to eliminate of it leads to jaundice. These conditions add to bilirubin buildup in the tissues. There are some other causes and risks associated with jaundice. We`ll discuss them briefly.
Cholestasis happens when the liver does not excrete conjugated bilirubin and disrupts the flow of bile from the liver.
This health condition increases bilirubin production, especially when red blood cells are broken down into large quantities.
Obstruction of Bile Duct
This condition is characterized by an inability of the liver to dispose of bilirubin, which results in jaundice.
Following are some rare conditions that contribute to jaundice.
Acute Inflammation of the Liver
This inflammation affects the ability of the liver to secrete and conjugate bilirubin, which eventually leads to its buildup.
This is an inherited health condition that prevents the required processing that excretes bile.
Bile Duct Inflammation
This inflammation is severe because it enhances the removal of bilirubin and secretion of bile that leads to jaundice.
In this condition, the yellowing of skin and eyes are caused by excessive beta-carotene, not from bilirubin as others. This is usually as a result of overeating carrot, melon, or pumpkin.
This syndrome is one that affects an enzyme that is responsible for bilirubin processing. It is an inherited syndrome that causes jaundice.
This prevents the secretion of conjugated bilirubin from liver cells. It`s also an inherited type of chronic jaundice.
What about its Symptoms?
- Pale stools
- Dark urine
- A yellow tint in the skin and white part of the eyes
Specific symptoms of jaundice due to low bilirubin levels
- Sudden weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Pale stools
How`s Jaundice Treated?
To treat jaundice, it is important to know its cause, because that determines how to go about treating it. Anemia-induced jaundice, for instance, may require a boost of iron in the blood. This can be achieved by increasing one`s intake of foods that contain iron or taking some iron supplements. However, an approach to treating hepatitis-induced jaundice is by administering antiviral and steroid medications. Obstruction-induced jaundice is not left out in having a different approach for its treatment: it requires a surgical removal of the obstruction.
Are Tests Carried Out at All?
Yes, there are a number of tests that are carried out to diagnose jaundice and identify the levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream. These tests focus on the firmness of liver, the abdomen, and risk of tumors. Here are some of the tests taken:
This is the test in which levels of unconjugated bilirubin are compared to levels of conjugated bilirubin in order to identify hemolytic jaundice.
MRI, CT, and Ultrasound Scans
These tests are used to examine the structure of the liver to see if there is an obstruction.
CBC or FBC
The complete blood count and full blood count tests reveal platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells levels.
Hepatitis A, B, and C Tests
These are tests used to check if one has a liver infection.
Eat Healthy Cholesterol
Fatty foods increase the LDL levels, hence increasing the risk of fatty liver and liver damage.
Eat Balanced Diets
One of the best ways to keep the liver healthy is to eat meals that are healthy.
Get Proper Sunlight
Phototherapy is an effective treatment for jaundice, newborn jaundice especially.
Avoid Self Medication
Only take medicines with the consultation of a doctor. The liver takes some efforts to metabolize drugs, and this may result in jaundice, especially when there is an abuse of such drugs, particularly because they`re not needed.
Avoid Certain Foods
Excessive consumption of red chilies, tobacco, coffee, hot spices, and tea should be avoided to prevent jaundice.
There are vaccines taken for the prevention of jaundice. Getting such vaccines keeps one safe among other measures.
Drink Less Alcohol
Alcohol consumption, especially when taken excessively, over time, affects the liver. A reduction or total stop in alcohol intake is a helpful move in preventing jaundice.
Personal and environmental hygiene helps prevent jaundice. Keep your body, environment, food, and water clean.
Keeping the hands are clean before taking in food or water is highly important. You also need to be careful with the use of public toilets. Their door handles and taps are hosts of disease-causing agents.
Sharing cutlery and clothes with an infected person is quite unhealthy.
Which Foods are Good for the Liver?
Water helps the liver and kidneys flush out toxins. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to help the liver recover from jaundice. So care for your liver and stay out of jaundice by getting hydrated.
There’s really nothing as nourishing as consuming protein-rich foods. Amino acids play an essential role in protecting your liver from damage caused by toxins, fats, and excessive salts. These enzymes, amino acids, are found in different types of proteins. This is a reason it is suggested that the consumption of protein-filled foods be higher than the status quo. Fish is a great source of protein, which helps in proper liver detoxification. Moreover, other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fish, serving as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants and fiber that ease digestion and help limit liver damage during metabolism.
These fruits and vegetables are particularly beneficial for liver conditions.
- whole cranberries, blueberries, and grapes
- avocados and olives
- cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
- citrus fruits, especially lemons, limes, and grapefruits
- papayas and melons
- pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and yams
- ginger and garlic
- spinach and collard greens
- carrots, beets, and turnips