Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the skin, mucous membranes, and of the white of the eyes. It is caused by elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a brownish-yellow substance that comes from the liver breaking down old red blood cells. If the liver cannot handle the blood cells as they break down, bilirubin builds up in the body and your skin may look yellow.
Many healthy babies have some jaundice during the first week of life. It usually goes away. However, jaundice can happen at any age and may be a sign of an underlying disease. Jaundice can happen for many reasons, such as:
- Blood diseases
- Genetic syndromes
- Liver diseases, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis
- Blockage of bile ducts
Yellowing skin and eyes are often the main clues used to confirm a jaundice diagnosis. However, Dr. Bhatti may also perform:
- Physical examinations (looking for signs of swelling of the liver and legs, ankles, or feet which might indicate cirrhosis of the liver)
- Urine tests
- Blood tests
- Liver function blood tests or liver biopsies
- Ultrasounds, X-rays with contrast, MRIs, or CT scans
Once the underlying disease causing the jaundice is identified, Dr. Bhatti can determine the most appropriate treatment option for you. Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our GI clinics in Chaska and Edina. Dr. Bhatti is board-certified and has decades of experience treating patients throughout the state of Minnesota.
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