he word jaundice comes from the French word for ‘yellow’ which is ‘jaune.’ It describes the yellowish appearance of the skin and whiles of the eyes of a newly born baby.
The cause of jaundice is a build up of biliruben in the baby’s bloodstream. Everyone has biliruben in their blood, which is created when red blood cells break down. The hemoglobin in the red blood cells changes into biliruben which is then removed by the liver and excreted into the stools. Babies are born with an excess of red blood cells and often times their livers aren’t developed enough to filter out the biliruben.
If a newborns jaundice level increases to a certain amount your pediatrician may recommend that your baby spend some time under the Bililights. These are a series of flurescent lights that are placed over a baby’s incubator. Bililights change the structure of the biliruben making it easier to be excreted by the liver. A little time spent in sunlight also helps as well.
Causes of Jaundice
The high level of bilirubin is the main cause of jaundice. However, it is better that we are able to understand how this chemical component of the blood is being released. The red blood cells are the ones responsible with the bilirubin. When these cells get old, they are naturally destroyed. Since the blood cells are the carriers of iron-content called hemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood, this chemical is released from the destroyed cells. When the iron is removed, the remaining chemical content is called bilirubin.
Moreover, the liver has also a very important function in developing jaundice. The liver is tasked to remove waste from the body specifically in the blood stream. As discussed above, bilirubin is a waste product of destroyed red blood cells. The liver should be removing the bilirubin from the blood and excrete it through the feces.
Jaundice in Newborns
Jaundice in newborns and babies typically will occur due to the infants immature liver is not yet efficient enough to remove Bilirubin from the baby;s bloodstream. Bilirubin is the regular pigment created when the red blood cells begin breaking down in the body. This is typically processed by the liver which is then used and passed through in the baby’s stool. Jaundice occurs when their body is creating too much Bilirubin. Also it could occur if the liver is not extracting it fast enough.
Typically jaundice is not harmful. However, in certain occurrences if the baby has too much Bilirubin in a baby’s blood it could possibly be harmful. In some instances if it is very high it could affect part of the brain cells of the baby. It can also be harmful and serious if the jaundice has moves into the baby’s arms and legs. It may also be harmful if the baby has an infection. Premature babies are also at risk.
Shakasritha: There is only mild aggravation of pitta and vata in this type of Kaamala ( acute jaundice) and this can be cured relatively easily.
Kumbha Kaamala: If not treated Kaamala ( acute jaundice) in due course turns into Kumbha Kaamala and becomes difficult to treat.
Panaki: This is considered to be late/advanced stage of Kaamala.
Haleemaka: This is an advanced stage of pandu roga (anemia). This occurs when both vata and pitta are vitiated. The disease is manifested with greenish-yellow discolouration, weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, body ache, burning sensation, loss of taste and dizziness.