What causes yellowing of the skin and eyes in a person with jaundice?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The most common cause of jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin, is a potentially serious liver disorder. The problem starts when the body replaces old red blood cells. This process produces a yellowish-green pigment called bilirubin. Normally, the liver removes bilirubin from the bloodstream. However, if the liver isn't working properly, too much bilirubin remains in circulation. As a result, the skin and the whites of the eyes become yellowed. In some cases, jaundice may occur for less-worrisome reasons. However, this skin condition may be a sign of hepatitis (liver inflammation), gallstones, or other serious health problems. See a doctor immediately if you have jaundice.

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