Monthly Archives: December 2021

Neonatal Jaundice Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors in Newborns

Jaundice – the disease we associate with the yellowing of the skin, doesn’t just affect adults. It is one of the many conditions a newborn can suffer from. Studies reveal that 6 out of every 10 babies are affected by jaundice, out of which 8 out of 10 are born prematurely.

The condition when a baby’s skin and eyes develop a yellowish color is called newborn jaundice. This is a very common occurrence in babies and is because of a high level of bilirubin present, which is a yellow pigment that is produced during a normal breakdown of red blood cells.
The liver processes bilirubin in older babies and adults, however, this is not the case in a newborn as the liver is not mature enough to filter out the bilirubin.

jaundice in newborns

The good side to it is, in most cases, jaundice fades away as the baby develops and starts to feed which is helpful for the bilirubin to pass through the body and hence can be a very mild event
Mostly the jaundice cures within 2 to 3 weeks. If jaundice persists any longer than 3 weeks, it most probably can be due to an underlying condition.
Some of the repercussions of high Bilirubin levels are deafness, cerebral palsy, and other forms of brain damage.

The four types of different neonatal jaundice are:

  1. Pathologic jaundice
  2. Physiologic jaundice
  3. Breastmilk jaundice
  4. Suboptimal intake jaundice

What reasons could there be, for jaundice in newborns?
Most healthy babies tend to be affected by normal jaundice. This is because newborns have more blood cells than an adult. Since these blood cells don’t live as long, more bilirubin is formed when these break down.

The risk for developing newborn jaundice is highest in: 

  • Babies that are born before the 37 weeks gestation period (premature babies)
  • Babies who aren’t getting enough breast milk or formula because either the mothers are not able to feed them or the mother’s milk is not produced yet. If a baby is diagnosed with this type of jaundice, also otherwise known as (breastfeeding jaundice) it’s recommended to feed more often. A lactation consultant can be consulted in these cases
  • In cases where there the mother and the child’s blood type do not match.

In cases where the blood group of the newborn and the mother isn’t compatible, antibodies can develop in the baby that can destroy their red blood cells and hence lead to a sudden rise in the bilirubin levels.

Some other causes of neonatal jaundice include:

  • A bruise at birth or internal bleeding.
  • Liver problems
  • A possible infection
  • An enzyme deficiency
  • An abnormality in the baby’s red blood cells (born with high red blood cells or a big bruise on the head.

What symptoms should be focussed on, in cases of newborn jaundice?

Look out for the whites of the eyes and the skin turning yellow. This usually appears between the second and the fourth-day post-birth. The yellowing begins to show up first on the face, followed by the chest and the legs. Babies with very high levels of bilirubin may be sleepy, fussy, and floppy. It is difficult to spot jaundice in darker complexioned babies, hence it is necessary to look out for other symptoms in this case.
To check if your baby has jaundice here is something you can try. Press lightly on your infant’s forehead or nose. If the skin looks yellowish on the area where you pressed, the baby likely has jaundice otherwise the skin color on that spot should look lighter than the normal color for a moment.
It is recommended to try doing this in good lighting conditions, during natural daylight.

 risk for developing newborn jaundice is highest

 

Contact your doctor if:

  • Your baby starts to look or act sick and develops a fever over 100°F.
  • Is not eating well.
  • Is sleepier than usual days
  • has jaundice that gets worse
  • makes high pitched cries
  • have dark yellow pee
  • have pale poo which is usually yellow or orange

What are the risk factors?

There are major risk factors for neonatal jaundice that can cause complications, they include but are not limited to.

  • Premature birth of the baby. A baby born before 38 weeks of gestation might not be in the position to process bilirubin when compared to normal-born babies. Premature babies may have a smaller appetite, thus leading to lesser bowel movements, which results in less bilirubin being flushed through stool.
  • Newborn bruise. A newborn who, during the time of being born gets bruised, may have higher levels of bilirubin due to the breakdown of more red blood cells.
  • Breast-feeding. Breast-fed babies, particularly those who have difficulty in getting nursed and are only getting nutrition from breastfeeding, are at higher risk of jaundice. Dehydration or a low caloric intake may be a reason for jaundice. However, breastfeeding has its benefits. Hence, it’s important to make sure your baby is fed enough is adequately hydrated.
  • Race. Studies have indicated how newborns of East Asian descent have a higher risk of developing jaundice due to their underlying genes.
  • Acute bilirubin encephalopathy. Bilirubin is a condition that is said to be toxic to the brain cells of the newborn. In cases of severe jaundice, there are chances of bilirubin passing into the brain, and this is known as acute bilirubin encephalopathy. Early treatment may prevent significant damage.
  • Kernicterus. It is a type of syndrome which arises when acute bilirubin encephalopathy causes permanent damage to the brain. It thus results in involuntary and uncontrolled movements, permanent upward gaze, hearing loss, and in some cases improper development of tooth enamel.

How is jaundice treated?

Do not wait to get in touch with the doctor. Call them right away, if jaundice doesn’t seem to subside. Babies who have had jaundice for beyond 2 weeks need to undergo more testing to rule out any underlying reasons causing jaundice. There could be any problems with the liver or their bile system, their metabolism, or even their genes. Certain treatments include –

  • Treatment of the cause which may be infection or hypothyroidism
  • Breastfeeding the baby between 8-12 times a day every day for at least a fortnight post-birth. Do not wait for your baby to cry for food, as this can interfere with effective bleeding
  • Phototherapy
  • Exchange transfusion
  • Additional supplementation should be given only post consultation with your doctor.

Newborns need constant care and support and in this case, do not hesitate to get medical intervention, as a stitch in time, saves nine. In this case, it can save a life.

Also Read: Stomach Worms in Children

Disclaimer: The information included here is only for knowledge sharing purposes, and the blog is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis, medical advice, or treatment by a healthcare professional. Because individual needs appropriate advice, the reader should consult their doctor to determine the appropriate disease depending on their situation.

Spotting a Black Line on Nails and What it Signifies

It is often emphasized how certain body parts reflect our health and fingernails are one such part, which depicts a lot about our health just by the looks of it.

Have you ever noticed how some nails have different colors and textures but do they have any relevance?

Well yes, one such relevance is that of a narrow black line or lines that form vertically beneath your nail. This condition is called a ‘Splinter hemorrhage’. This occurrence could be due to several reasons and may or may not be a serious health disorder.

So, what exactly is it?

The formation of black lines arises in the tissues of the nail bed and can also be due to an injury. ‘Subungual Melanoma’, a fatal form of skin cancer could also be one of the reasons for these occurrences, if the formation of these lines is thicker and cover a major portion of your nail. The word subungual comes from the Latin word “sub” meaning beneath and “unguis” meaning nail or claw. Melanoma is a form of cancer that builds in cells called melanocytes. These cells produce melanin, the pigment which gives color to the skin, hair, and eyes.

While in most cases subungual melanoma is found on the thumb or big toe, it can also be possible that these appear on any fingernail or toenail. Although they are often misdiagnosed and assumed to be a fungal infection and can sometimes be left ignored, they can, however, prove to be fatal for your health.

BLACK LINE ON NAILS

This condition is relatively uncommon and affects around 0.7% to 3.5% of the population with malignant melanoma worldwide. The condition is more common to be found among darker-complexioned individuals, including Asians, Hispanics, Africans, Americans. Subungual melanoma is also more popular among women and men in their 60s and 70s.

These are dark or faint black streaks that run parallel to the cuticle. Some of these streaks can be brown, black, or dark blue, and in some cases, these can be non-pigmented as well. With time, more streaks may appear and might often be of a different color and the portion nearest to the cuticle may become wider.

One of the most common findings in subungual melanoma cases is Hutchinson’s sign. This is when the line extends from the top of the nail to the nail bed and finally makes its way into the cuticle.

Some of the characteristics include:

  • Streaks that are reddish-brown or black.
  • Reflects on more than one place under the nail.
  • The thin black/brown lines expand in width but do not push upwards on the nail accompanied by pain and inflammation

What causes these black lines?

There could be multiple reasons for the appearance of these faint black lines.

  • Nail trauma: Any injury on the nail, for example getting the finger stuck between an object
  • Genetics, hereditary.
  • If the blood vessel under your nail has burst due to an injury
  • Multiple moles.
  • Increased melanin production by the melanocytes
  • Low levels of vitamin A, vitamin B, Vitamin B12, or keratin
  • During pregnancy in some cases, black lines are normal to appear due to hormonal changes
  • Endocarditis: It is a condition where an infection develops in the inner chambers or valves of the heart. According to research around 15% of people with endocarditis have vertical black lines on the nails.
  • A history of prolonged illness.
  • A fungal infection, which more often has darker non-vertical stripes with yellow or white lines.
  • Psoriasis
  • Weak immune- for example in organ recipients or someone with advanced HIV.

Also, Read More: Top 12 Super Immunity Booster Foods

  • Mostly prevalent in dark-skinned people
    Due to a wide array of reasons for the occurrence of the black lines, self-diagnosis is not recommended. However, it is advised to visit a dermatologist/cosmetologist before making any assumptions or starting self-medication, if you notice the black lines on your finger or toenails.

What treatments are available?

Poor diet and vitamin deficiencies are some of the most common reasons for any ailments and making healthy changes in your lifestyle with regards to your diet and hygiene can prove to be beneficial in the long run.

  • Consume highly nutritious foods like greens, eggs, and fish.
  • Foods heavily loaded with iron, zinc, and Vitamins are also required.

If the diagnosis relates to a fungal infection, there are home several remedies to try for the removal of black lines naturally. Alternatively, one can also choose to go as per the medication prescribed by your doctor.

Some of the good home remedies to try are:

1.) Baking Soda is used to cure fungal infections

  • ¼ cup of baking soda.
  • 1 cup – apple cider vinegar
  • Water

Mix the ingredients well in a bowl and dip your affected nails for about 15 minutes and pat dry with a clean dry towel.

2.) Apply coconut oil on the affected areas at least three times a day. Coconut oil has good antifungal properties.

3.) With the help of a cotton ball apply lemon juice to the affected part of the nail.

  • For black lines or splinter hemorrhage caused due to an injury or nail trauma, it may take up to days or months to heal. If this is accompanied by pain and inflammation, apply an ice pack or cold compress on the affected area and consult your doctor if this prolongs.
  • In the worst cases, doctors may surgically remove the affected toe or nail or can also extract only the abnormal tissue that is causing the vertical black lines.
  • The doctors can also go for radiotherapy which is a treatment through X-rays.
  • In cases of ‘metastatic melanoma’ that is when cancer spreads to the other parts of the body, doctors may go for immunotherapy.
  • Treatments vary from patient to patient as per the different stages of melanoma. For advanced subungual melanoma, other therapies may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy.

The appearance of a black streak on the nail can put you in agony but it does not imply that you have a disease or are at the risk of an ailment.

While at the same time this should not be ignored especially if the condition persists along with bleeding. It is advised to maintain nail hygiene and consult a dermatologist, if a problem is found early diagnosis and treatment helps.

In case you think you might have this, seek medical immediately.

The Knowledge included here is only for information sharing purposes, and the blog is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis, medical advice, or treatment by a healthcare professional. Because individual needs appropriate advice, the reader should consult their doctor to determine the appropriate disease depending on their situation.

Disclaimer: The information included here is only for knowledge sharing purposes, and the blog is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis, medical advice or treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of individual needs appropriate advice, the reader should consult their doctor to determine the appropriate disease depending on their situation.