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Are your skin and whites of your eyes turning yellow along with other symptoms like dark colored urine and itchy skin then it can be due to a condition called jaundice. It can affect people of all age groups and is most commonly seen in newborn babies. Here in this article let us discuss in detail about jaundice, why it happens, what are its major causes and also about ways to avoid it.

What is jaundice?

Jaundice which is also called as Icterus is a condition raised due to excess buildup of bilirubin in body fluids and tissues. Bilirubin is a yellow-orange colored pigment that is present in our RBC’s. When these RBC’s die, the liver metabolizes it and then it gets combined with bile and excretes from the body through feces and urine. If this process gets obstructed due to any health condition or if liver fails to metabolize bilirubin, then it leads to an excess build of bilirubin. This excess buildup of bilirubin leads to jaundice. When this bilirubin leaks into the surrounding tissues, then your skin and whites of your eyes turn into a yellow color which is the major symptom of jaundice. People suffering from jaundice along with yellowing of skin and whites of eyes also experience other symptoms like dark colored urine, itchy skin, pale stools and yellowing of mucous membranes in mouth and nose. Few people also experience other jaundice symptoms like fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and others.

jaundice treatment

As discussed earlier jaundice is very common among newborn babies, around 60% to 70% of babies face this newborn jaundice. If not treated properly, excess bilirubin levels in the newborn may lead to a severe complication called Kernicterus (brain damage).

There are 3 major types of jaundice depending on its causes like

  1. Hepatocellular jaundice (caused due to liver diseases)
  2. Hemolytic jaundice (caused due to hemolysis)
  3. Obstructive jaundice (caused due to inflamed or blocked bile duct)

Major causes of jaundice

Jaundice can be caused due to several health conditions, here are few common jaundice causes

  • Hepatitis
  • Damaged liver due to liver cancer and alcoholic liver disease (Cirrhosis)
  • Inflamed or blocked bile duct due to gallstones and cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Gilbert’s syndrome
  • Cholestasis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Few suggestions

In few rare cases, jaundice can also be caused due to Crigler- Najjar syndrome, Dubin- Johnson and Pseudo jaundice.

How to avoid it?

Jaundice is not caused due to a particular cause and several health conditions can lead to it, hence there is no particular way to avoid jaundice. But, here are few ways measures which can help to avoid your risk of jaundice

  • Avoiding excess consumption of alcohol than the recommended amount.
  • Having a healthy and balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining the healthy weight and controlling cholesterol
  • Getting Hepatitis vaccine
  • Avoiding over usage of few medications
  • Maintaining hygiene and avoiding consumption of contaminated water and food

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