Jaundice: Risk Factors
Pronounced: JON-disEn Español (Spanish Version)
Jaundice occurs when excess bilirubin builds up in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow-brown colored substance in bile. Bile is a liquid that carries waste products and bilirubin away from the liver. It also helps break down fats in the small intestine. It is formed during the body's normal process of breaking down red blood cells.
There are several reasons why too much bilirubin can build up in the blood. They include:
- Excess breakdown of red blood cells, which can occur in:
A blockage in or near the liver that prevents the flow of bile, such as:
- Gallstones or pancreatitis
- A tumor in the liver or bile duct
- Pancreatic cancer
- Congenital defects
Liver, Gallbladder, and Bile ductCopyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
- Liver damage caused by:
- In babies, insufficient amounts of a certain liver enzyme during the first two weeks of life
- Inherited metabolic disorders, including Gilbert, Crigler-Nager, and Dubin-Johnson syndromes
Last reviewedMarch 2014by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.