Jaundice: What Is It and diet should you follow, and which should you avoid
Your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow due to this illness. It commonly affects newborn infants. Adults can, however. If you suspect you could have jaundice, consult a doctor straight away. It can be a sign of a liver, gallbladder, or blood issue.
What Causes It in Adults?
When your blood contains an excessive amount of the yellow-orange chemical bilirubin, you get jaundice. Your red blood cells contain it. The liver removes it from the bloodstream when those cells perish. However, if something isn’t right and your liver isn’t functioning properly, bilirubin can pile up and make your skin appear yellow.
Adults rarely develop jaundice, but there are a variety of causes causing it. A few of these are:
Hepatitis: A virus is typically to blame for this sickness. It may be acute, lasting only a brief time, or chronic, lasting at least six months. Hepatitis can be brought on by drugs or autoimmune diseases. It can harm the liver over time and cause jaundice.
Alcohol-related liver disease: If you consume too much alcohol over an extended period of time, typically 8 to 10 years, your liver may suffer substantial damage. The liver is harmed by two illnesses in particular: alcoholic cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis.
Bile ducts that are blocked: Bile is a liquid that travels from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine in these tiny tubes. Sometimes, cancer, rare liver illnesses, or gallstones obstruct them. You might develop jaundice if they do that.
The ninth most prevalent cancer in women and the tenth in males is pancreatic cancer. Jaundice can result from it obstructing the bile duct.
Certain medications: Liver disease has been associated with medications such acetaminophen, penicillin, birth control pills, and steroids.
How is it identified?
To diagnose jaundice, doctors will most likely start with the patient’s medical history and physical examination. Later on, they can also request lab tests.
They will pay particular attention to the skin, liver, and belly during an examination.
To help identify the underlying cause of jaundice, the doctor may frequently order laboratory tests. These consist of:
Bilirubin tests: Hemolytic jaundice is indicated by increased levels of unconjugated bilirubin compared to conjugated bilirubin.
The complete blood count (CBC) or full blood count (FBC): This gauges the quantities of platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells.
Tests for hepatitis A, B, and C: These check for various liver infections.
If there may be an obstruction, the doctor will also look at the liver’s structure. They will employ imaging tests in these situations, such as MRI, CT, and ultrasound scans.
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography may also be performed (ERCP). This process combines X-ray imaging with endoscopy.
A liver biopsy can be carried out by a medical practitioner, according to the AAFP. A liver biopsy can look for cirrhosis, malignancy, fatty liver, and inflammation.
To collect a tissue sample for this test, a needle must be inserted into the liver. The sample will then be examined under a microscope by a medical expert.
What Is The Treatment?
Jaundice in adults is typically left untreated. However, your doctor will deal with the underlying issue.
Jaundice that is caused by acute viral hepatitis will go on its own when the liver starts to recover. Your doctor might advise surgery to open a clogged bile duct if that is the cause of the problem.
Best Diet for jaundice
A poor diet can worsen jaundice.Let’s combat it with the appropriate diet and care!
The liver’s main job is to eliminate poisons and damaged blood cells from the body. Bilirubin, a waste product, starts to build up when this process is stopped. The result could be jaundice. By preventing it from returning, a healthy and balanced diet can assist the liver in treating jaundice!
Which diet should you follow, and which should you avoid?
The diet regimens are based on the level of jaundice and the underlying medical conditions of the patient. The list of foods and beverages that jaundice patients should consume is as follows:
Water: Recovering from jaundice requires maintaining hydration. At least 2 litres of water should be drank each day. You can flavor the water with a teaspoon of fresh lime, lemon, or grape juice. An additional antioxidant dose is provided by this.
Fresh fruits and veggies: Since fresh fruits and vegetables include fiber, antioxidants, and liver-friendly nutrients, they also aid to protect the liver. Digestion is aided as well. Here is a list of some of the fruits and vegetables:
- Cranberries, grapes and blueberries
- Citrus fruits like lemons and limes
- Watermelon and papaya
- Sweet potato
- Beetroot and carrot
- Garlic and ginger
- Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts
- Collard greens and spinach
Whole grains: Whole grain diets are rich in nutrients that are good for the liver. They are rich in minerals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. Oats contain a lot of beta-glucan, which has been found to enhance liver function following regular use for 12 weeks.
Herbal teas and coffee: Both beverages are rich in antioxidants. They aid in digestion as well. By slowing the progression, coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of fibrosis, cancer, and liver disease.
Nuts and legumes: Nuts and legumes are high in phenolic acid, vitamin E, and antioxidants. They are also rich in fiber and good lipids, which support the liver’s healthy operation.
Milk thistle: The herb milk thistle is rich in antioxidants and includes silymarin. The healing of harmed liver cells is encouraged by silymarin. However, if a patient is expecting or nursing, they should talk to their doctor before using it.
Foods to avoid during jaundice:
Foods to avoid when you have jaundice include several foods that are hard on your liver and digestive tract. Certain foods should be avoided because our diet should promote simple digestion and liver healing.
Iron: It’s critical to monitor your iron intake. hepatic scarring could develop from iron excess (cirrhosis). The patient needs to figure out how much iron he should be consuming to lessen liver diseases.
Fat : Foods heavy in fat and fried foods should be consumed sparingly or not at all. Unsaturated fats are easier for the liver to handle than saturated fats, which can be found in dairy and animal products.
Sugar: The buildup of liver fat can be attributed to refined sugar as well as other types of processed sugar. Fruit or low-fat, low-sugar yogurt are preferable. Limiting artificial sweeteners in addition to refined sugar is a fantastic way to protect the liver from being overworked.
Salt: A salt-rich diet can harm the liver. One simple strategy to cut sodium from the diet is to stop eating processed and canned foods.
Alcohol: It is advisable to refrain from drinking alcohol until all signs of jaundice have disappeared. Alcohol can further harm the liver, making it extremely harmful.
The yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and eye whites is referred to as jaundice. It is a sign of a liver-related underlying illness or health issue.
It happens when the liver is injured or when it cannot keep up with the need to process blood waste. There are several disorders that can affect the liver and result in jaundice.
Managing the underlying illness is usually the first step in treating jaundice.
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A review article by
Dr Bhavna Kalvala (Clinical Research Director @ IEEARC Tech)