What Is Yellow Jaundice?


Quick Answer

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin caused by too much bilirubin in the body, according to Healthline. Bilirubin is a pigment formed by the breakdown of red blood cells in the kidneys.

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What Is Yellow Jaundice?
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Full Answer

In normal people, the kidneys break down dead red blood cells and get rid of excess bilirubin at the same time, as Healthline explains. Jaundice occurs when this process is interrupted or when the excess bilirubin cannot make it to the digestive system for removal through the stool, and it can indicate a problem with a person's kidneys, pancreas or gallbladder. Other causes of jaundice include alcohol abuse, infections, parasites in the liver or adverse reactions to certain medication overdoses. Additionally, certain blood disorders, such as hemolytic anemia, can also cause jaundice along with the feeling of fatigue and weakness.

Before treating a case of jaundice, doctors must first identify its underlying cause, according to Healthline. They can do this in a number of ways, but they most often use liver function tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasounds of the abdomen and CT scans. Most mild types of jaundice resolve on their own without treatment, and doctors usually treat moderate cases with phototherapy, which is a special kind of light therapy that encourages the removal of excess billirubin in the body. Doctors may use blood transfusions to treat severe cases of jaundice.

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