Jaundice or jaundice corresponds to a pigmentation that is particularly visible on the conjunctiva, the "white" of the eye, but also of the skin. This is usually accompanied by a dark coloring of the urine, unlike discolored stools, and itching sometimes intense.
Jaundice is caused by an accumulation of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a bile pigment that is the product of the breakdown of hemoglobin in red blood cells. This waste is normally collected and treated (conjugated) by the liver, before being eliminated in the stool. Bilirubin is measured by performing a blood test, the normal value is between 3 and 10 mg per liter in an adult.
There are two categories of jaundice that are related to very different diseases:
Conjugated bilirubin jaundice: these are the most common. They are due either to the presence of stones in the gallbladder, or to the pancreatic ducts, or to liver diseases such as hepatitis (viral or drug), cirrhosis or liver or pancreas tumor.
Jaundice with free or unconjugated bilirubin: much rarer, they are caused by rare diseases like Gilbert's disease, considered as an anomaly (enzymatic genetic deficit) more than a real pathology, or blood diseases (thalassemia), or malaria, for example.