Saturday, February 5, 2011
The Rainbow of Liver Disease
I am struck by how colorful liver disease is. There is jaundice, a hideous yellow color. (The word jaundice shares its origin with the French word for yellow – jaune.) Another colorful sign of cirrhosis is palmar erythema, which means red palms. Of course, we can’t forget other symptoms of cirrhosis, such as coffee-colored urine or clay-colored stools. Various liver diseases can cause the skin to have a copper or ruddy tone. And then there is that lovely green color of bile – similar to the color you get while on treatment; that is unless you are anemic and white as a sheet.
Hepatitis C is a member of the Flaviviridae family. Flavus means yellow in Latin – yet another color reference. Who knew that liver disease would offer such a wide palette for the eye?