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Jaundice is an abnormal condition in which the body fluids and tissues, particularly the skin and eyes, take on a yellowish color as a result of an excess of bilirubin.
During the normal breakdown of old red blood cells, their hemoglobin is converted into bilirubin. Normally the bilirubin is removed from the bloodstream by the liver and eliminated from the body in the bile, which passes from the liver into the intestines.
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Anemia: A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.
Bile: A bitter, yellow-green secretion of the liver. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and is released when fat enters the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) in order to aid digestion.
Cirrhosis: A long-term disease in which the liver becomes covered with fiber-like tissue. This causes the liver tissue to break down and become filled with fat. All functions of the liver then decrease, including the production of glucose, processing drugs and alcohol, and vitamin absorption. Stomach and bowel function, and the making of hormones are also affected.
Hemoglobin: The oxygen-carrying protein of the blood found in red blood cells.
Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver usually resulting in jaundice (yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, abnormal liver function, clay-colored stools, and dark urine. May be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, parasitic infestation, alcohol, drugs, toxins or transfusion of incompatible blood. Can be life-threatening. Severe hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis and chronic liver dysfunction.
Jaundice: Yellow discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes and excreta as a result of an excess of the pigment bilirubin in the bloodstream.
Red Blood Cell: Any of the hemoglobin-containing cells that carry oxygen to the tissues and are responsible for the red color of blood.
Stricture: An abnormal narrowing of a bodily passage caused by, for example, scar tissue.