Jaundice

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I was looking at some pictures I took last week and man, I look so jaundiced. Ick! For those of you that don’t know, jaundice is a condition caused from the increased production of bile pigments in the blood. It usually affects people with all kinds of liver diseases but it affects Sickle Cell Warriors as well.

To most of us, the gall bladder is one of those inconsequential organs that one knows very little about. One of the primary functions is to store bilirubin, a by product waste that the liver creates when hemoglobin is broken down. Hemoglobin is the primary component of red blood cells (RBCs). The average red blood cell lives 120 days. The average sickle cell lives 10 days —wimps!. So when these cells die, they are broken down in the spleen and then shipped to the detoxifying unit, aka the Liver. The liver processes wastes of RBCs as bilirubin, and there is so much of it that the body can’t get rid of it all. So it just sits in your bloodstream, turning your skin and eyes yellow. Not a fresh look.

I’ve been jaundiced all my life but sometimes it’s worse than others. I can usually tell how anemic I am from how jaundiced my eyes look. And honey, they look like a cat’s eyes right now.

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