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Jaundice – Types, Signs, Causes and Symptoms

Jaundice, also referred to as icterus, is the yellow staining of the skin and sclerae (the whites of the eyes) by abnormally high blood levels of the bile pigment, bilirubin. The yellowing extends to other tissues and body fluids and also may turn the urine dark.
The liver secretes bile juice containing pigments which when absorbed in the bloodstream due to liver malfunction, causes deposits in layers of skin and body giving a yellow color.

Types of Jaundice
– Obstructive : It is caused by some form of obstruction like gall stones or cancer that prevents the bile produced from reaching the intestines.
– Hepatocellular : It occurs when liver cells are damaged or diseased and are unable to process bilirubin, causing it to accumulate in the blood stream.
– Hemolytic : It occurs because of high bilirubin levels in the blood. These high levels of waste produce exceed the liver’s ability to process and transport it, and can cause the symptoms of jaundice.

Symptoms of Jaundice

– Extreme weakness.
– Headache and fever.
– Loss of appetite.
– Severe constipation.
– Nausea.
– Yellow, discoloration of eyes, tongue, skin and urine.
– Dull pain in the liver region.
– Intense itching.

Causes of Jaundice

– Jaundice is caused by excessive amounts of bilirubin.
– Jaundice usually is caused by liver dysfunction or blockage of the bile ducts leading from the liver to the small bowel.
– Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, Liver cirrhosis, Hepatitis E, Obstruction of bile ducts, Gallstones, Pancreatic cancer, Alcoholic liver disease, Inflammation of the liver, Haemolytic anaemia, Typhoid, Malaria, Yellow fever, Tuberculosis, Certain medication, Pregnancy can be few causes of jaundice.

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