Jaundice in Adults

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Jaundice is a disease that occurs often in newborns but adults can get it too. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about jaundice in adults in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Jaundice is when the skin turns yellow. It is caused by having too much of a chemical called bilirubin in the body.

Jaundice happens when too much bilirubin is made in the blood or when the liver is damaged and cannot get rid of bilirubin from the body. Other than yellow skin, people with jaundice may have stomach pain, nausea, fever, weight loss or itching.

People get jaundice when their liver is damaged. There can be many causes:

Liver infections, like hepatitis

Drinking too much alcohol

Gallstone disease

Some medicines

Cirrhosis, or

Cancer of the gallbladder or pancreas

In some cases, yellow skin is caused by other medical problems or by eating foods that have a lot of a chemical called beta-carotene.

See your doctor right away if your skin turns yellow. Your doctor can order blood tests to check for a high bilirubin level.

Treatment depends on what is causing the high bilirubin level. Usually, your doctor can treat the illness that is causing the jaundice.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.