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Jaundice-associated conditions

Definition

Jaundice-associated conditions are diseases or conditions that cause yellow skin (jaundice).

Alternative Names

Conditions associated with jaundice

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Jaundice is a sign of liver, gallbladder, or certain blood disorders. The skin and the eyes become yellow due to the buildup of bilirubin in the skin and "white" of the eye (sclera).

Conditions associated with jaundice include:

Hepatitis:

Gallbladder and bile duct disorders:

Liver disorders:

Other causes:

Symptoms

  • Dark urine
  • Pale or clay-colored stools
  • Yellow in the white part of the eyes (sclera)
  • Yellow skin

Other symptoms depend on the specific disorder:

  • Cancers may produce no symptoms, or there may be fatigue, weight loss, or other symptoms
  • Hepatitis may produce nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or other symptoms

Signs and tests

Physical examination will show:

  • Jaundice
  • Liver swelling (possibly)

Specific tests vary, but will include blood liver function tests to determine how well the liver is working.

Other tests may include:

Treatment

All jaundice-associated conditions need to be diagnosed and treated. In some cases, you will only need observation, but always talk to your health care provider.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome varies.

Complications

Complications vary, but can include life-threatening liver failure.

Calling your health care provider

Contact your health care provider if you develop symptoms of jaundice.

Prevention

Prevention depends on the disorder that causes the jaundice.

References

Berk PD, Korenblat KM. Approach to the patient with jaundice or abnormal liver test results. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007: chap 150.


Review Date: 4/23/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Lonstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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