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Jaundice: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnostic Tests for Liver Function

Dr.Ayushi Bansal 1717 Views
Updated: 13 Oct 2023
Published: 11 Oct 2023
Jaundice: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnostic Tests

Jaundice is a common health issue in India, particularly in areas with poor sanitation and limited access to clean drinking water. It is often caused by hepatitis, including viral hepatitis A, B, and C, which can spread through contaminated water and food or unsafe medical practices. Hepatitis A is the most prevalent form of viral hepatitis associated with jaundice in India, while hepatitis B and C can lead to chronic liver disease. Prevention efforts focus on improving sanitation, promoting hygiene practices, implementing vaccination programs, and ensuring safe medical procedures. Treatment varies depending on the cause but may involve supportive care, antiviral medications, and specialized medical attention in severe cases.

Your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow due to Jaundice. It commonly affects newborn infants. But adults can, too.

If you suspect you might have jaundice, consult a doctor right away. It might be a sign of a liver, gallbladder, or blood issue.

When your blood contains an excessive amount of the yellow-orange substance bilirubin, you develop jaundice. Your red blood cells contain it. The liver removes those cells from the bloodstream when they expire. However, if something is not right and your liver is not functioning properly, bilirubin can build up and make your skin appear yellow.

Adults rarely get jaundice, but it can happen for a variety of reasons. Some examples are:

  • Hepatitis: The majority of the time, a virus is to blame for this infection. It may be acute, lasting only a short time, or chronic, lasting at least six months. Hepatitis can be brought on by drugs or autoimmune diseases. Jaundice may develop as a result of liver damage over time.

  • Alcohol-related liver disease: Your liver may become ill if you drink too much alcohol over an extended period of time, usually 8 to 10 years. Particularly, alcoholic cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis are harmful to the liver.

  • Blocked bile ducts: The liver and gallbladder release a substance called bile into the small intestine through these delicate tubes. Gallstones, cancer, or rare liver diseases can occasionally cause them to become blocked. If they do, you may develop jaundice.

  • Pancreatic Cancer: The ninth most common cancer in women and the tenth in men is pancreatic cancer. It can block the bile duct, causing jaundice.

  • Certain medicines, like acetaminophen, penicillin, birth control pills, and steroids, have been linked to liver disease.

How is Jaundice diagnosed?

A bilirubin blood test is one of the diagnostic tests for jaundice that measures the amount of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance produced by your body as it breaks down old red blood cells. Bilirubin is found in bile, a fluid produced by your liver that aids in digestion.

If your liver is in good condition, it will remove the majority of the bilirubin from your body. If your liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak into your bloodstream. Jaundice is a condition in which your skin and eyes turn yellow due to an excess of bilirubin in your bloodstream. Jaundice symptoms, in conjunction with a bilirubin blood test, can assist your doctor in determining whether you have liver disease.

Other tests may include:

  • Hepatitis virus panel to screen for liver infection
  • Liver function tests are used to determine how well the liver is functioning.
  • Complete blood count to rule out anemia or low blood count.
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA)
  • Liver biopsy
  • Cholesterol level
  • Prothrombin time
Some general tips for the prevention of Jaundice are:

  • Steer clear of hepatitis infections.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption as recommended.
  • Be sure to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Control your cholesterol levels.

Testing plays a crucial role in the case of jaundice for several reasons. Firstly, jaundice is a symptom of an underlying condition affecting the liver or bile ducts, and diagnostic tests are necessary to identify the specific cause. Determining the cause helps guide appropriate treatment and management strategies.

Secondly, diagnostic tests provide valuable information about the extent of liver damage or dysfunction. This information helps healthcare professionals assess the severity of the condition and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Additionally, testing aids in monitoring the progress of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment over time. By periodically evaluating liver function through follow-up tests, healthcare providers can make informed decisions regarding adjustments to medication, lifestyle changes, or the need for further interventions.

So do not wait any longer; schedule your tests with Pathkind Labs right away!

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