Jaundice is the sign of an underlying disease process that presents with yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and sclera due to excessive amounts of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a byproduct of breaking down red blood cells in the body. Some conditions that lead to jaundice may include malaria, sickle cell crisis, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer.
Normally the liver metabolizes bilirubin and excretes it in the form of bile. If too much bilirubin is produced or if the liver is not healthy enough to metabolize the bilirubin, then bilirubin builds up in the blood, causing jaundice. Some conditions that lead to jaundice may include malaria, sickle cell crisis, hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and cancer.
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