Posts tagged ‘bruise’
By Chad Upton | Editor
We normally associate jaundice with newborn babies, but many of us have minor cases throughout our lives.
Jaundice is distinguished by a yellow coloring of the skin which is caused by an elevated level of bilirubin in the blood. You have bilirubin in your system at all times — it’s a by product of the normal breakdown of red blood cells. In fact, it’s also the reason your urine is yellow.
When your skin receives trauma from a hit or other pressure, the capillaries break under your skin, allowing blood to escape into the extracellular space. That blood causes the initial dark color. As the hemoglobin breaks down from biliverdin to bilirubin and then to hemosiderin, these chemicals are responsible for the green, yellow and golden-brown colors respectively.
Bilirubin is not typically a concern for healthy people, but it can be in newborns who may have trouble excreting and breaking down bilirubin before their intestinal bacterias are present and functional.
Photo: timlewisnm (cc)