Conditions associated with jaundice; Yellow skin and eyes; Skin - yellow; Icterus; Eyes - yellow

Jaundice is a yellow color of the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes. The yellow coloring comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Jaundice can be a symptom of other health problems.


Jaundice is a condition produced when excess amounts of bilirubin circulating in the blood stream dissolve in the subcutaneous fat (the layer of fat just beneath the skin), causing a yellowish appearance of the skin and the whites of the eyes. With the exception of normal newborn jaundice in the first week of life, all other jaundice indicates overload or damage to the liver, or inability to move bilirubin from the liver through the biliary tract to the gut.

Jaundiced infant

Newborn jaundice (producing yellow skin) can have many causes, but the majority of these infants have a condition called physiological jaundice, a natural occurrence in the newborn due to the immature liver. This type of jaundice is short term, generally lasting only a few days. Jaundice should be evaluated by a physician until decreasing or normal levels of bilirubin are measured in the blood.

Cirrhosis of the liver

A chronic liver disease which causes damage to liver tissue, scarring of the liver (fibrosis; nodular regeneration), progressive decrease in liver function, excessive fluid in the abdomen (ascites), bleeding disorders (coagulopathy), increased pressure in the blood vessels (portal hypertension), and brain function disorders (hepatic encephalopathy). Excessive alcohol use is the leading cause of cirrhosis

Bili lights

Using bili lights is a therapeutic procedure performed on newborn or premature infants to reduce elevated levels of bilirubin. If blood levels of bilirubin become too high, the bilirubin begins to dissolve in the body tissues, producing the characteristic yellow eyes and skin of jaundice. Bilirubin also has an affinity for brain tissue, where it can accumulate and cause permanent brain damage.



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