Many times the word jaundice is heard when a new baby is born. It is a very common disease that occurs when babies have high bilirubin levels which is a yellowish pigment produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. The good news is that jaundice in babies goes away on its own as and when the liver develops. It appears for 2-3 weeks and if it persists for more time, it requires proper jaundice treatment.
On the other hand, jaundice in adults indicates some problem with the liver or the bile duct. Yellowing of skin, eyes, dark urine and itchiness are some of the common symptoms.
How common is jaundice in adults- There are certain risk factors for developing jaundice in adults.
- Some people with heredity conditions like thalassemia are said to be at increased risk of getting hemolysis.
- Consuming alcohol in high quantities also develops hepatitis, cirrhosis leading to jaundice.
- Sometimes even viral hepatitis like hepatitis B and hepatitis C increases the risk of jaundice at the time of infection.
- Other risk factors might be induced due to consumption of raw shellfish, sometimes tattooing, being unvaccinated for Hepatitis, etc.
Risk factors- Jaundice always happens because of an underlying disorder that either causes excess production of bilirubin or stops the liver to get rid of it. In both cases, the bilirubin starts depositing in the tissues. There can be the most common cause of jaundice, which is caused by ductal stones, known as obstructive jaundice. In such cases, the ductal stones are secondary to migration from the gall bladder. Obstructive jaundice treatment may require undergoing surgery. Other conditions of jaundice related to hemolysis, hepatitis, drug-induced liver damage, cirrhosis, may all can be treated with medication.
Treatments of Jaundice- The underlying condition that causes jaundice and its potential complication decide what treatment should be given to patients. After the diagnosis is made, the treatment may or may not need hospitalization.
The treatments include-
- Expectant management or watchful waiting where the doctor sends the patient home to rest.
- Some cases may require intravenous fluids, antibiotics, medicines, or even blood transfusions in rare cases.
- In cases of neonatal jaundice i.e., newborn jaundice phototherapy (exposed to special colored light) is done to decrease the elevated bilirubin levels.
- In other cases, sometimes surgical treatments may be required.
Depending upon the patient’s condition, the doctor follows proper treatment. The potential complications of the conditions of the patient should be disclosed completely with the physician and always seek medical attention or supervision if the condition reoccurs or worsen.
Diet for jaundice- It is seen that diet plays an important role in curing jaundice. The doctors provide an individualized treatment plan which also has dietary suggestions. At times of jaundice, the liver turns in a bad shape so all such food items that require the liver to work hard to digest should be avoided. The best way to have a liver recovery is to stay hydrated. Some fruits and vegetables have liver-friendly nutrients whereas high-calorie and low fiber products should be avoided.
Jaundice can happen to people of any age group, but there is no need to worry as it can be diagnosed and treated well.