It’s alarming to note that toll due to jaundice has doubled over the past two decades. The statistics of the study conducted by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) show that jaundice is a major public health problem across India. An annual incidence of 2.76 per 1000 population were stated and confirmed by doctors.
What is jaundice?
Icterus, commonly known as jaundice, is a condition in which there is yellowish discoloration of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. To have the public a better understanding of this condition, people need to be educated of its cause, risk factors, signs and symptoms, complications, treatment and prevention, say medical experts.
Jaundice is caused by buildup of bilirubin in the blood, Which is formed when hemoglobin is destructed in the spleen and liver. Identification of the predisposing factors in the management of this condition is unimportant. The risk factors to be noted in this disease are cancer of the liver or pancreas, infections – viral or bacterial, with the most common being Hepatitis A, B and E infection. People With preexisting medical conditions such as gallstones, congenital diseases or my liver-related diseases are likely to develop jaundice as well. In new born babies, though it is not fatal, Jaundice commonly occurs during the first five days of life.
While the condition is difficult to manage and treat, the signs and symptoms of jaundice can be easily noticed. They include fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal distension, leg swelling, blood vomiting, breathing difficulties, itching and pale stools.
Complications of jaundice include drowsiness, altered behavior, disorientation, decreased urine output, infection, pancreatitis, foetal death in uterus or maternal death in complicated jaundice during pregnancy. Medical practitioners say that treatment of jaundice depends on understanding the cause of the elevated bilirubin level in the body. This condition is medically managed for most cases with antiviral or steroid medications. Conditions with gallstones, liver or pancreatic cancer can be treated by surgical intervention, which can_ be either dealt with laparoscopic or an open-surgical procedure. In complicated cases, the patient may need to undergo a liver transplantation, which will be the best and final curative option.
How to diagnose Jaundice?
A simple blood test to check elevated bilirubin levels in the blood can confirm whether a person has jaundice or not the physician will then examine the patient and may advise for imaging tests like an ultrasound, MRI, or CT abdomen, if they suspect any obstruction in the liver.
- For prevention of jaundice or hepatitis infections, the following points should be taken into consideration.
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake.
- Consume clean drinking water and food.
- Have a balanced diet.
- Conduct regular ANC for pregnant ladies. Practice safe sexual intercourse.
- Vaccinate against hepatitis A and B.
- Avoid native medications.
- Do liver function test regularly for patients taking anti TB drugs.
- If you are having any of the above mentioned symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately.