Are you feeling okay? You look a little yellow to me. This yellowing problem that causes people’s appearance to look different is a condition that affects every 3 in 5 newborn babies, or 60 percent of them. Jaundice is a very common but affecting condition because of its: many types, it is easily detected in newborns and it could cause or be the sign of liver failure Jaundice is a medical condition that causes a person’s skin and white’s of their eyes to turn yellow. In most severe cases, the whites of a person’s eyes can turn brown, however cases like these are very rare. Even many healthy babies experience jaundice in the first week of life. Other than newborn babies, newborns with an East Asian or Mediterranean background have a higher risk of going through jaundice than any other race. Jaundice is also called icterus and it forms in the body when there is too much bilirubin in your body. Bilirubin is a yellow-pigmented substance produced when hemoglobin breaks down from red blood cells. Occurring at the same time, the liver is removing all of the old red blood cells as well as the excess bilirubin. When the liver is unable to remove the bilirubin, it causes a buildup in the body making the skin, eyes, and mucus membranes in the mouth to turn yellow. There are many common types of jaundice. The most common, or normal, type is called Physiological Jaundice. This type occurs in newborn babies because since their liver is not fully developed, it makes it harder for the liver to break down and remove the excess bilirubin. Another type of jaundice is called Breastfeeding jaundice and this can occur when the mother of a child is not giving enough breast milk to their child. However, there isn’t any complication with the mother’s breast milk, this type of jaundice is because the baby is not getting enough to drink. The final type of jaundice is called Blood Incompatibility Jaundice. If the newborn has a different blood type than his/her mother, the mother’s antibodies may destroy the red blood cells of her child, which will eventually cause a buildup of bilirubin. Jaundice is easily detected in newborn babies and usually appears within the first few days of life. Starting with the head, the jaundice condition turns the skin of the patient to turn yellow. Gradually and slowly, jaundice works its way down to the chest and legs. The diagnosis says that if you are noticing yellowing skin and yellowing eyes, you must go see a doctor to see if jaundice is present. The doctor will then take a sample of your blood to test for bilirubin levels in your body. Other symptoms may include being sleepy often, not feeding well. Treatment for jaundice is fairly easy. Usually, mild cases of jaundice will go away by itself after a few days or weeks, and breastfeeding jaundice usually takes two or three weeks to cure on its own. However, more severe cases of jaundice must be treated by phototherapy, also called light therapy. In this type of treatment, the infant is placed under lights called “bili lights” which are absorbed by the skin and blood. The light helps alter the bilirubin into a chemical form so that the liver can have an easier way to excrete the bilirubin from the body. Instead of bili lights, it is also said that keeping the patient in sunlight will also treat the jaundice. If jaundice is not treated in babies, the infant may have a buildup of bilirubin and this can affect the brain in a condition called kernicterus. Other treatments include blood transfusions, which requires blood from a donor to be injected in the body to remove the bilirubin. If jaundice is present in an adult, this may be caused by alcohol abuse, infections, liver disease such as cirrhosis or hepatitis, etc. However, since jaundice is not common in adults, this may also be a sign of liver failure. Because this condition depends mostly on the liver to remove the bilirubin, if jaundice is occurring in the patient, it means the liver is unable to...
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