It is a condition that affects the liver and gets progressively worse over time, which ultimately results in the biliary tract breaking down more and more. Bile is a fluid secreted by the liver. You’ll be able to digest food better and absorb more vitamins. As a bonus, it aids the body in flushing out excess cholesterol, pollutants, and old red blood cells. Liver failure, scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), and damage to the bile ducts can all result from chronic inflammation. When it comes to diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of digestive tract diseases, Endoscopy at Brownsville stands alone as the gold standard. Treatment for GERD and heartburn is available in Brooklyn to help keep gastrointestinal problems from progressing.
Although it affects females more frequently than it does males, either gender is susceptible to getting it. Because the immune system wrongly attacks healthy cells and tissue, it is classified as an autoimmune illness. The condition is likely triggered by a mix of hereditary and environmental factors, according to research. The onset is typically gradual. Even though primary biliary cholangitis has no known cure, it may be treated with medicine to lessen the severity of liver problems, especially if administered early on.
Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is caused by what?
The exact origin of PBC is unknown to medical professionals. Some professionals think it has something to do with an immune system issue when the body’s defenses mistakenly target healthy cells. Physicians believe that the immune system is to blame for the bile duct damage seen in PBC.
Some people who have this disease also suffer from similar autoimmune conditions, but this is not well understood. Autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune thyroiditis, and autoimmune scleroderma are some examples of such disorders. Patients with PBC frequently suffer from urinary tract infections. PBC may also be prompted by factors such as infectious agents, tobacco use, and chemical exposure.
There is a strong correlation between PBC and close familial relationships. A higher chance of developing PBC exists in a family where a member already suffers from the disease.
What are the Manifestations?
As many as 55% of those who have primary biliary cholangitis don’t show any symptoms at all. Blood tests performed for other purposes, such as routine testing, may detect the condition. Sometime between now and the next 5–20 years, you will begin to experience symptoms. Results are usually worse for people who had symptoms at the time of diagnosis.
Signs and symptoms that usually appear first include:
- Itchy skin
Possible late-onset symptoms include:
- Leg and foot swelling (edema)
- Nose and cheeks parched
- Due to liver failure, abdominal fluid builds up (ascites)
- Xanthomas are fatty deposits that can be found in the skin’s natural folds, such as those found on the face, eyelids, palms, soles, elbows, and knees.
- Skin darkening that isn’t caused by UV exposure (hyperpigmentation)
- Bone fragility and breakage due to osteoporosis
- Poor lipid profile
- Fatty diarrhea (steatorrhea)
- Losing weight
- Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism)
- Discomfort in the right side of your upper stomach
- Discomfort in one’s skeleton (musculoskeletal discomfort)
To what extent can primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) be alleviated, and how exactly do doctors go about doing so?
PBC is incurable at this time. Medication helps doctors control symptoms and decrease PBC’s progression. Ursodiol (Actigall®) facilitates bile excretion from the liver. The effectiveness of this medication in enhancing liver function and halting the progression of liver disease is well established. When ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is ineffective or intolerable, obeticholic acid (Ocaliva®) might be used instead. This treatment both reduces the liver’s output of bile and speeds up bile’s exit from the body.
Each patient is different, and different medications may be appropriate for them depending on their specific needs and the presence or absence of underlying health issues. Even with medical treatment, if there is a deterioration in liver function, it is possible that a liver transplant will be required.
Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) and hydroxyzine (Vistaril®) are over-the-counter options, while cholestyramine (Locholest®, Questran®) and hydroxyzine (Vistaril®) are prescription options for treating the common condition of extreme itching.
Doral Health is here to help if you’re experiencing any of these issues by connecting you with a Gastroenterologist at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212. From diagnosis to therapy, the gastroenterologists at the Endoscopy Treatment Center in Brooklyn are unrivaled. Call 347-868-1016 to make an appointment and receive the individualized attention you deserve.