There is a substance in our body called bilirubin. When the levels of bilirubin in our blood are too high, we become prone to discoloration affecting our body. This discoloration is called jaundice. Jaundice is usually a sign of some metabolic problems in our body. Therefore, a proper and early diagnosis of this condition is of crucial importance.
Reasons behind Jaundice
High levels of bilirubin may indicate an early onset of hepatocellular disease or a hemolytic anemia. Also, this could be a sign of cholestasis.
Bilirubin goes through our organism, being changed and broken down to other substances before being expelled through urine once it leaves the kidneys.
When jaundice appears, it can also be a sign of a hepatitis infection or a presence of gallstones. If hepatitis or gallstones are present, these conditions may manifest through a dark urine color, being a premonition of jaundice. Priuritus may also appear, prior to jaundice. Alternatively, alcohol or drug abuse and blood transfusions can trigger jaundice in people too.
Some medications are known to cause this condition as well. Some of these are amitriptyline, chlorpromazine, erythromycin, halothane, imipramine, MAO inhibitors, oral contraceptive pills and various others.
Finally, if a person has suffered from hepatitis before he/she may be prone to jaundice more. Also, people who have undergone biliary surgery or had breast or bowel cancer belong to the risk groups . Note that jaundice is more likely to occur in your case once you have had it in your family or if you suffer from obstetric cholestasis.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Since jaundice can be triggered by numerous different, underlying conditions, these need to be assessed and noticed first. Even though hepatitis and gallstones are the most common triggers of this condition, sometimes, other diseases need to be ruled out before a successful diagnosis.
Gilbert's syndrome, thalassemia, traumas, Crigler-Najjar syndrome and many other conditions may lead to jaundice too. Drug abuse may lead to hepatitis and thereby trigger jaundice as well.
Therefore, this condition is commonly a sign of some other health issue affecting the person with jaundice. Numerous tests need to be done in order to rule out all the disease which may interfere with the metabolism or the bile system, leading to excessive concentration of bilirubin. Basically, the causes may range from bile duct strictures to various forms of cancer. Thus, you are advised to seek medical assistance as soon as you notice symptoms of jaundice, the main of which is discoloration affecting the skin and the white part of the eyes. Do not ignore this condition or try to neglect it in any possible way since the underlying cause may become more serious.