Health and MedicineDiseasesPrimary biliary cirrhosis: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment

Primary biliary cirrhosis: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune liver disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the liver. Find out everything there is to know about her.

Both primary biliary cirrhosis and secondary biliary cirrhosis are characterized by being an autoimmune liver disease that usually appears in middle-aged people. In fact, it is one more liver disease, although it falls within those known as autoimmune. It is closely related to sclerosis cholangitis, since it is linked to a decrease in the production of bile.

It should be noted that this is a very important component of our body that is responsible for transporting all the nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of the body. It mainly affects one in three thousand people and today the exact causes of biliary cirrhosis remain unknown.

However, it has been concluded that it may be due to a series of genetic and environmental factors that cause lymphocytes to attack the bile ducts, causing their progressive destruction.

In this way, the patient will store all kinds of toxic substances and bacteria that in the long run can cause a multitude of liver failures. It has also been speculated that biliary cirrhosis may be caused by a series of viral agents, which can already be treated with all kinds of antibiotics and drugs that have shown highly positive results.

What is primary biliary cirrhosis?

Primary biliary cirrhosis, also known medically as PBC, is a chronic inflammatory disease of the liver, mainly characterized by a rather slow course.

It is named this way because the lesion begins not with the obstruction of the extra hepatic ducts due to the presence of stones in the gallbladder, but because it begins in the intrahepatic bile ducts.

Precisely, as the injury progresses, the liver tends to undergo a constant process of fibrous healing. However, in most cases, people with primary biliary cirrhosis have only mild fibrosis, and not cirrhosis itself.

It is, as we indicated at the beginning, an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system tends to attack the different cells that line the interior of the small bile ducts, causing inflammation around them.

What are the symptoms of primary biliary cirrhosis?

Once we have known in depth how biliary cirrhosis behaves and some of the causes for which it can appear, we are now going to detail what its symptoms may be:

  • Feeling of fatigue. This disease will cause that sooner or later a great discomfort appears accompanied by a feeling of fatigue after eating any food. This situation can later translate into vomiting and nausea.
  • Elevated bilirubin. Biliary cirrhosis will cause bilirubin to skyrocket, creating a clear case of jaundice or yellowing of the eyes, skin, and pale stools.
  • Itching in many areas of the skin. In these cases, it is best to go to a dermatologist for specialized treatment.
  • Dry mouth and eyes. Also known as Jorgen syndrome, a problem characterized by the lack of saliva segregation.
  • Abdominal pain. It is also possible that around 20% of patients also suffer from severe pain in the upper abdomen.
  • Appearance of autoimmune diseases. Such as hypothyroidism, a condition that is very common in those patients who suffer from an advanced stage of this cirrhosis.
  • In the most severe cases, it is also possible that a clear case of multiple osteoporosis appears, a disease characterized by loss of bone density.

What treatment is there for biliary cirrhosis?

The treatment that exists for primary biliary cirrhosis is usually of a strong pharmacological nature so that the swelling of the bile ducts gradually subsides. In this way, the destruction of liver cells is stopped.

Although for this, we will have to go to our doctor to do a preliminary analysis and prescribe the medication that best suits us. For these cases, ursodeoxycholic acid is also usually given to stop the deterioration of the liver.

If the case progresses, on many occasions there will be no choice but to perform a liver transplant. Cirrhosis may return after this operation, but it will no longer become as serious a condition.

From there, it is highly recommended to completely reduce alcohol consumption if the first symptoms of this biliary cirrhosis begin to appear. And then accompany this process a healthy and balanced diet. Especially in all kinds of vitamins such as A, D, E that can be taken orally through a multitude of foods.

What is the evolution of primary biliary cirrhosis?

As we indicated, primary biliary cirrhosis is a disease that evolves slowly. This means that, today, most medical diagnoses are carried out in the early stages of the disease, so that for most people with PBC the prognosis is generally good.

However, a small proportion of patients may require a liver transplant or various complications of liver failure.



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