Jaundice is a symptom that can develop as part of various diseases. It refers to the yellowish discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes. This happens when levels of the chemical bilirubin increase in the bloodstream. Mild elevation in bilirubin levels causes the skin to become yellow. When bilirubin levels are very high, the skin takes on a brown or yellow hue.
What are the symptoms of jaundice?
The most prominent of all jaundice symptoms is the yellowish staining of the skin and whites of the eyes. This discoloration first becomes prominent in the facial region and then spreads across the body. Some of the other common symptoms of jaundice include:
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Pale colored stools
- Dark yellow urine
- Bitter taste in the mouth
Jaundice commonly develops in babies, usually soon after birth. Infants affected with jaundice may have yellowing of the skin, but this may be difficult to identify since the skin tone of babies is different from adults. Jaundice tests are usually done 36 hours after birth in case other symptoms such as persistent crying, listlessness and poor feeding are present, it is important for the child to receive medical care.
What are the causes of Jaundice?
Jaundice mainly occurs when an underlying condition affects the bilirubin levels in the blood. In some cases, the liver is unable to remove bilirubin while in other cases; bilirubin may accumulate in the tissues.
How is Jaundiced diagnosed?
Ans: A blood test is done to diagnose jaundice. A blood test can not only determine the total amount of bilirubin in your body, but it can also help detect indicators of other diseases such as hepatitis. Other diagnostic tests may be used including liver function test, imaging tests and liver biopsy.
What is the treatment of Jaundice?
The treatment of jaundice usually begins after diagnoses. Jaundice that occurs due to anemia may be treated by elevating the iron levels in the blood through iron supplements or with the intake of foods rich in iron. Jaundice induced by hepatitis may be treated with anti-viral medications. Surgery may be required in cases where the condition develops as a result of blockages. In some cases, jaundice may even develop as a result of, as a side effect from certain medications. In such cases, the jaundice may be treated by altering the dosage or changing the medication.
Medical treatment however is absolutely essential, not just for the treatment, but more importantly for an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause, so as to facilitate appropriate treatment. Home care and lifestyle modifications are however an important aspect of treatment and the recuperation process. You can also try using other natural methods that are believed to help in the treatment of jaundice, but not all of these methods have been scientifically proven, so exercise caution. Some of the most common jaundice natural remedies include:
1. Radish leaves juice 2.Sugar cane juice 3. Lemon juice and barley water.
What sort of a diet should be taken during jaundice?
Proper diet and adequate rest is essential for recovery from jaundice. Here are some helpful dietary tips for those affected by jaundice:
- A good intake of fluids helps to remove excess bilirubin from the body through the urine and stool. Make sure that you drink clean, uncontaminated water. Vegetable and fruit juices are also beneficial as they help to regulate the balance of electrolytes in the body.
- Once the bilirubin levels start decreasing, light foods such as fruits, porridge and yogurt may be added to the diet. You can also consume vegetables such as spinach and carrots. Refrain from eating foods that are oily or spicy. Sugary foods, artificial sweeteners and caffeine should also be avoided.
- As the bilirubin levels reduce to almost normal, you can add foods such as rice, lentil or fish to your diet. Ensure that no oil is used to cook foods. You can eat your fish either boiled or steamed. Avoid eating meat or poultry as it may be difficult to digest.
How can jaundice be prevented?
Jaundice is related to the function of the liver, so it is essential that you maintain this vital organs health by eating a balanced diet, exercising at least 30 minutes five times a week, and most imperative is to ensure that the water you drink is clean.