Jaundice Symptoms and Signs
Jaundice is caused by abnormally elevated or high blood levels of bilirubin.
Signs and symptoms of jaundice include:
- The yellow staining of the skin and the whites of the eyes (sclerae)
- Dark urine
- Pale-colored stools
- Nausea and vomiting
Bilirubin and blood test facts
- Bilirubin is a reddish yellow pigment
made during the normal breakdown of red blood cells.
- Normal levels vary slightly from lab to
lab; they range from about 0.2 – 1.2 mg/dL.
- Signs and symptoms of high bilirubin
levels in adults very with the underlying cause; however, symptoms usually
include jaundice and itching.
- High bilirubin levels in adults usually
means that there may be an underlying problem involving the red blood cells, liver, or
gallbladder; however, other problems also may be found.
- Symptoms of high bilirubin levels in
newborns are skin and/or
- High bilirubin levels in a newborn means that the neonate is not processing red cell breakdown effectively or an
underlying cause is responsible.
- The treatment for elevated bilirubin in
adults depends on the underlying problems. Experts suggest avoiding alcohol.
- The bilirubin test can chemically
determine the total and if needed, the conjugated and unconjugated levels of
bilirubin in the blood.
- The bilirubin test is performed on a
small sample of blood from the patient.
- You prepare for a bilirubin test by
refraining from eating for a few hours and avoiding certain compounds that
influence bilirubin levels before the test.
- Risks associated with a bilirubin test
- The prognosis for an adult with
elevated bilirubin levels is related to the underlying cause, and may range from
good to poor.
- The prognosis for a newborn with
elevated bilirubin levels usually is good in the majority of newborns if they
rapidly reduce their bilirubin levels.
- High bilirubin levels can be prevented
in neonates by early treatment, and presented in adults by treating the underlying causes
and avoiding alcohol or other substances that may damage the liver.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/3/2016