Friday, April 15, 2011
J is for Jaundice
Jaundice is the yellowish color that newborn babies get in the first few days of life. Some have levels so high they require treatment with IV fluids, a Bili blanket, or the Bili light. Minor cases of jaundice in the newborn can actually be treated effectively by placing the baby near a window with natural light. This is a medical decision and should be discussed with your physician.
Newborns are not the only patients who can show signs of jaundice. Children and adults who have a sudden onset of a yellowish skin color may need evaluation by a physician and a few blood tests. Without getting too technical, the jaundice is the result of liver function and the breakdown of bile. It is not usually a normal symptom and most often requires testing to determine the cause.
Some viruses can cause the temporary coloring of the skin as the liver works to heal the body. It can also be the sign of blockage to the bile ducts. Jaundice in older children and adults is most often related to something going on in the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder and the surrounding ducts from those organs. It can be serious, I won't mislead you here. But it doesn't mean it is terminal or that it cannot be treated.
Jaundice should always be evaluated and your physician should make every attempt to find the cause. Rapid diagnosis is the best way to get proper and timely treatment for any disease or illness. Jaundice is not usually normal so it is always wise to seek medical attention first. Your family doctor is a great place to start.