refers to the yellow color of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by excess bilirubin
in the blood.
More to Know
Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells (RBCs). Ordinarily,
bilirubin passes through the liver and is discharged as bile in the intestines. Jaundice
occurs when bilirubin builds up faster than the liver can break it down and pass it
from the body. This can happen if too many RBCs are breaking down and going to
the liver, if the liver is damaged or blocked, or if bilirubin doesn't pass through
the digestive tract
Jaundice, which isn't painful, can be caused by many things (such as infections
and blood disorders) or be a sign of a problem with the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.
High levels of bilirubin can lead to serious complications if they go untreated
for too long. Jaundice is most common among newborn babies and people with liver infections,
gallstones, or substance abuse issues.
Keep in Mind
All cases of jaundice should be evaluated by a doctor. Treatment will depend
on its cause — often, particularly with newborns, the cause is something harmless
and the jaundice will clear up on its own.
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