Understanding Jaundice: A Guide to the Different Types of Jaundice

1. Prehepatic Jaundice:

Prehepatic jaundice occurs when there is excessive destruction of red blood cells, leading to an increased production of bilirubin. Common causes include hemolytic anemia, malaria, sickle cell disease, and certain medications. The excess bilirubin overwhelms the liver’s ability to process it, resulting in jaundice.

2. Hepatic Jaundice:

Hepatic jaundice is caused by liver diseases or conditions that impair the liver’s ability to process bilirubin effectively. Examples include hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, and drug-induced liver injury. In hepatic jaundice, the liver may not be able to adequately conjugate bilirubin or excrete it into the bile, leading to its accumulation in the bloodstream.

3. Posthepatic Jaundice:

Posthepatic jaundice, also known as obstructive jaundice, occurs when the flow of bile is obstructed, preventing bilirubin from being properly eliminated from the body. Common causes include gallstones, tumors, strictures, and infections of the bile ducts. The buildup of bilirubin in the bloodstream results in jaundice.

4. Physiological Jaundice:

Physiological jaundice is a common type of jaundice that occurs in newborns. It is caused by the normal breakdown of red blood cells after birth and the immature liver’s temporary inability to efficiently process bilirubin. Physiological jaundice is usually mild and resolves on its own without treatment.

5. Neonatal Jaundice:

Neonatal jaundice refers to jaundice that occurs in newborn infants. It can be caused by various factors, including physiological jaundice, breastfeeding-related issues, blood type incompatibility between the mother and baby, infections, and liver diseases. Neonatal jaundice may require medical evaluation and treatment, especially if it becomes severe or prolonged.

It is important to note that jaundice can have multiple underlying causes, and the appropriate diagnosis and treatment depend on identifying the specific cause. If you or someone you know is experiencing jaundice, it is crucial to seek medical attention for a proper evaluation and management plan.