This two words " jaundice" and "hepatitis" might sound so common but are not really understood by people. I work in a diagnostic where people come in everyday, telling you how they think they have hepatitis but at the end they test negative. The truth is, hepatitis is deadlier than we imagine and kills faster than HIV virus. Hepatitis unlike HIV may not show any sign or symptoms until the lethal/life threatening stage and it is important to note that it can not be cured but can be controlled with the appropriate viral drug.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW!!!
What many of those patients imagine to be hepatitis is Jaundice. Jaundice is not a disease but a sign that results from different medical conditions. It is simply the yellowing of the skin and sclera (white part of the eye) which is mainly caused by high level of bilirubin in the blood.
Bilirubin is a waste product resulting from normal breakdown or red blood cells which is eliminated through the liver and kidney. This function however is mainly carried out by the liver which allows some of its cells (hepatic cells) conjugate with this bilirubin and other chemicals to form the CONJUGATED BILIRUBIN that is eliminated in stool/feaces.
Jaundice occurs when;
I. The rate of bilirubin production exceeds the rate of elimination
II. The liver is dyfunctional and cannot promote the elimination of bilirubin.
III.The bile duct is blocked, hence hindrance of bile and bilirubin flow to the intestine for excretion.
Treatment of jaundice focuses on targetting its undelying causes like hepatitis and high bilirubin since its not a disease itself.
Note that jaundice is very common with new born babies because their livers are still developing. However, it goes away quickly once they start feeding very well and their livers develop.
This article continues tommorrow on Hepatitis. Thanks for reading and I hope you've grabbed something from this.