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Excess bile pigments (bilirubin) in the bloodstream and tissues, causing a yellow to orangeeven greenishcolour in the skin, the whites of the eyes, and the mucous membranes. Bilirubin may be overproduced or inadequately removed by the liver or leak into the bloodstream after removal; jaundice may also be due to impaired bile flow. Causes include anemia, pneumonia, and liver disorders (e.g., infection or cirrhosis). While bilirubin excess usually does no harm, retention jaundice signals severe liver malfunction.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on jaundice, visit Britannica.com.