Jaundice is liver disease, characterized by the depositionof bile pigments or increased amount of bilirubin. Because of that, patientsare found to experience discoloration and yellowing of the eyes and the skin. Jaundicemay be: hemolytic (the most common type), obstructive or hepato-cellular. Hemolytic jaundice is caused by the excess destruction ofred blood cells. Destruction of these cells lead to increased level of bilirubinsand the whole body of the patient becomes yellow because of these substances.
Apart from the yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes,the symptoms may include: light colored stool and darkening of the urine colorand increased level of bilirubin. Patients may suffer from anemia, nausea andvomiting, abdominal pains, fever, weakness and loss of appetite. Headache andconfusions are also frequently found in patients suffering from hemolyticjaundice, as well as some swelling of the legs or abdominal area of the body.
Babies may start to cry in high pitched tone and refuse thefood. Their muscles can become weak. Lethargy and seizures are also seen inbabies suffering from hemolytic jaundice.
Causes of Hemolytic Jaundice
Hemolytic jaundice in newborns is physiological condition. Itmeans that many babies have it, especially those born a month or more beforethe term. Their liver is under-developed and it is not able to excrete bilirubins.In the womb, mother’s body is taking care of the baby as well. When the baby isborn, it should be able to work on its own, but since it’s not – babies mayeasily get hemolytic jaundice.
Other possible causes of hemolytic jaundice may include:bacterial or viral infection of the body, use of certain drugs like acetaminophenor estrogens but also intake of alcohol. Antibodies in the serum may also beresponsible for hemolytic jaundice and also some trauma to red blood cells (knownas cardiac hemolysis).
Sickle cell anemia, congenital spherocytosis and deficiencyof G6PD (enzyme in the body, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) can also becauses of this condition.
Enlarged spleen in Hodgkin’s disease or decreasedconjugation of bilirubin, combined with fasting and dehydration (as it happensin Gilbert’s syndrome) could also lead to hemolytic jaundice.
Home Care Tips for Hemolytic Jaundice
Avoid alcohol, drink plenty of water and follow recommendeddiet when you have hemolytic jaundice. Use prescribed medications and consultwith the doctor before any additional treatment you might want to start,including herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Worsening of the symptoms must be reported to your doctor immediately,to avoid potentially serious consequences.