Jaundice comes from the French word jaune, meaning yellow. It is the most common of all liver ailments. Jaundice is not a disease, but rather a symptom that can arise in many different diseases.
Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin, conjunctiva and mucous membranes of the eyes caused by increased levels of bilirubin in the human body. The bile stagnates in the liver, which in turn means that the yellow pigment bilirubin, flows back in to circulation.
The concentration of bilirubin in the blood must exceed 2-3 mg/dL for the yellow coloration to be easily visible. When the bilirubin level is mildly elevated, they are yellowish. When the bilirubin level is high, they tend to be brown.
Jaundice typically appears in a 'top to bottom' progression (starting with the face), and is cured in a 'bottom - top' manner.
Causes of jaundice
Jaundice may be caused by a number of factors such as:
* An obstruction of the bile duct, maybe due to a tumor or gallstone - known as obstructive jaundice.
* Hepatitis: an inflammation of the liver
* Biliary stricture - a narrowing of the duct that transports bile from the liver to the small intestine
* Liver cirrhosis
* Pancreatic cancer
* Congenital disorders involving bilirubin
* Excessive destruction of the red blood cells - haemolytic jaundice
* Diseases such as typhoid, tuberculosis also affect the liver.
* Viral infections.
Symptoms of jaundice
* Yellow discoloring of the skin, tongue, white portion of the eyes (sclera), and mucous membranes
* Dark urine as excess bilirubin is excreted through the urine
* Itching all over the body
* Light-colored stool
* Abdominal pain, swelling in the liver region
* Extreme fatigue
* Loss of appetite along with constipation
* Nausea and vomiting
Jaundice is very common in healthy newborn babies, because of an immature liver.
It is usually a harmless condition, and is seen in infants around the second day after birth, lasting until day 8 in normal births, or to around day 14 in premature births.
This type of jaundice is presumably a consequence of metabolic and physiological adjustments after birth. If your baby is jaundiced for more than three weeks, see the doctor.
In severe cases, a brain-damaging condition known as kernicterus can occur.
What are the risks associated with jaundice?
As said above, jaundice is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying disease. It is actually the disease causing this symptom that creates most of the problems associated with jaundice.
Jaundice may also lead to destruction of a large number of red blood cells, which may occur due to inherited defects in red blood cells, medications, or infections.
Babies with jaundice may rarely develop brain damage if the level of bilirubin gets too high.
Jaundice itself is not contagious and poses no risks to others. If viral hepatitis is the cause of the jaundice, it may or may not be contagious. The forms of hepatitis that are contagious are usually spread by sexual contact or sharing of needles, such as by intravenous drug users.
Since jaundice is a symptom, not a specific disorder, the best treatment for it depends on its cause. Treatment will also depend on the nature and severity of the jaundice.
Treatment can range from the removal of gallstones or tumours to antibiotics to treat infections - even liver transplant where the liver is severely damaged. However, for conditions like cirrhosis and hepatitis, which are permanent problems, jaundice may be recurring.
In case of neo-natal jaundice, treatment depends on many factors, including the cause of the jaundice and the level of bilirubin. The goal is to keep the level of bilirubin from increasing to dangerous levels.
Treatment may include:
* use of a fibre-optic blanket
* exchange transfusion to replace the baby's damaged blood with fresh blood.
* discontinuation of breastfeeding
Home Remedies for Jaundice
1) Take plenty of rest, and consume lots of fluids - such as juices, clear soups, water.
2) Plenty of sugarcane juice can be given to the patient, to promote more urination as well as for nutrition and general health. However, extract the juice under hygienic conditions. This is very effective home remedy for jaundice.
3) Make a paste of tender papaya leaves. Take 1/2 teaspoon of this paste with 1-teaspoon honey.
4) 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice, 1-teaspoon mint juice and 1-teaspoon lime juice to be taken as often as possible. This is simple but effective Home remedy for Jaundice.
5) Five teaspoons of juice of fresh neem leaves along with pure honey in equal quantities should be well mixed, and to this mixture add ½ teaspoon of black pepper powder and stir well. This should be taken in two equal doses, in the morning and evening. It makes a good home remedy for jaundice.
6) The green leaves of radish are another valuable remedy for jaundice. This is another effective home remedy for jaundice.
7) A glass of fresh tomato juice, mixed with a pinch of rock salt and pepper, taken early in the morning, is considered an effective remedy for this disease.
8) A mixture of almonds, dried dates and cardamoms is regarded as an effective remedy for jaundice. 8-10 almonds, two dried dates along with five small cardamoms should be soaked overnight in water. This is also good home remedy for jaundice.
Author is an Ayurvedic doctor having years of experience in the field of Ayurveda and Alternative medicine. Find out more Home Remedies for Jaundice at http://www.natural-homeremedies.org/
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