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Jaundice Causes

When red blood cells get old, they are destroyed. Hemoglobin, the iron containing chemical in red blood cells that carries oxygen, is released from the destroyed red blood cells after the iron it receives is removed. The chemical that remains in the blood after the iron is taken out and becomes bilirubin.

Jaundice Definition

Jaundice is the yellowish staining of the skin and sclerae (the whites of the eyes) that is caused by high levels in blood of the chemical bilirubin. The color of the skin and sclerae is depending on the level of bilirubin. When the bilirubin level is slowly elevated, they are yellowish. When the bilirubin level is high, it tends to be brown.

Jaundice Diagnosis

Many tests are available for determining the cause of jaundice, but the history and physical examination are important as well.

Jaundice Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of jaundice are extreme weakness, headache, fever, loss of appetite, severe constipation, nausea, and yellow discoloration of the eyes, tongue, skin, and urine.

Jaundice Treatment

With the exception of the treatments for specific causes of jaundice mentioned previously, the treatment of jaundice usually requires a diagnosis of the specific cause of the jaundice and treatment directed at the specific cause, like removal of a gallstone blocking the bile duct.

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