What is Jaundice?
Jaundice is the term used to describe the yellowish appearance of the skin and whites of the eyes that occurs when the blood contains an excess amount of pigmentation. This pigmentation is known as bilirubin, a natural product that occurs from the normal breakdown of red blood cells by the spleen in the body. It is then carried to the liver to be excreted in the bile. Jaundice is not a disease, but is most affected as a result liver diseases.
The diagnosis of jaundice is based on the symptoms, medical history and physical examination – checking if the inside of your mouth is yellow and your eyes are yellow.
Certain tests will be performed and they include:
- Blood serum bilirubin
- Liver function test
- Cholesterol test
- Prothrombin time
- Complete blood count
- Ultrasound of the abdomen
- Liver biopsy
- Urine and fecal urobilinogen
Symptoms and signs of Jaundice
Help for Jaundice
Treatment of jaundice depends on the underlying causes such as a gallstone, hepatititis or a virus. Other conditions that may affect the liver include haemolytic anemia, typhoid yellow fever, malaria and tuberculosis. Very often the common cause of jaundice is associated with a gallstone being lodged in the common bile duct. In this case, the gallbladder may have to be removed.
Because jaundice is a symptom of other problems, it is vital that the underlying cause be treated immediately. The most important thing is to prevent kernicterus, which involves toxic levels of bilirubin accumulating in the brain. Jaundice in babies should be treated immediately. Phototherapy or light treatment is used to reduce bilirubin levels. Occasionally, a change of blood is required.
People have used herbal remedies for many years to promote liver health and functioning. Herbal ingredients are not only extremely effective and safe to use for liver problems, particularly jaundice, but also gentle enough for the body’s system. Popular herbs such as Silybum marianus (Milk Thistle) and Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) are beneficial for the liver and digestive system. In addition, Verbena officinalis (Vervain) is an excellent hepatic tonic but is also effective for overall health.