Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) in Florida
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What is primary biliary cholangitis (PBC)?
Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), previously called primary biliary cirrhosis, is an uncommon chronic liver condition. Primary biliary cholangitis is a degenerative immune system disorder that steadily damages the bile ducts (known as the intrahepatic bile ducts) in your liver. Bile assists with digestion and carries away fat, waste products, and bilirubin. This issue may also result in severe problems in your liver. When the bile ducts become impaired or dysfunctional, bile can accumulate in your liver and lead to scarring. If the liver gets too injured, it can lead to liver cirrhosis.
To hear more info on this condition or to get treatment for primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) in Florida, please request a consultation with us. Our Gastroenterology Associates of Florida specialists are proud to provide personalized treatments for individuals within the region.
What causes primary biliary cholangitis?
Primary biliary cholangitis is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body incorrectly destroys normal cells and tissues. An inflamed liver is present if white blood cells, called T cells (T lymphocytes), begin to accumulate and harm normal cells within the liver. Inflammation in the bile ducts advances to other portions of the liver, destroying these cells and resulting in scarring. Once your liver scars more and more, it begins to work improperly, leading to liver cirrhosis. It is not clear what leads these T cells to destroy other cell tissue, but it appears to be inherited.
Factors of increased risk
Several of the risk factors associated with having primary biliary cholangitis include:
- Smoking and similar harmful substances
- Some infections
- Being 30 to 60 years old
- Being a woman
- Geographic location (Primary biliary cholangitis is most widespread in northern Europe and North America)
- Genetics (patients are at a higher risk of PBC if a member of the family has experienced it)
For further info about PBC and how it affects your body, consult with a GI physician at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida today.
What are the symptoms of PBC?
Often, symptoms of PBC will not be seen until five to 20 years after diagnosis. The detection of PBC normally takes place while testing for other issues. The first signs of PBC are fatigue, dry mouth and eyes, and itching of the skin.
Other common markers of PBC include:
- Discomfort in the upper right abdomen
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Dark skin that is not connected to sun exposure
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Swelling of the feet and ankles
- High levels of cholesterol
- Dark and greasy stools
- Painful joints
- Brittle bones
It is vital to detect primary biliary cholangitis as early as possible. In the event that you believe you might be in danger of experiencing PBC caused by your genetics, or any one or more of the listed signs, our Florida digestive health specialists can provide a solution.
What are the recommended treatments for PBC?
Presently, there is no cure for primary biliary cholangitis. Treatment focuses on delaying the advancement of the disease and addressing the symptoms. A number of the common treatment recommendations are:
- Staying active
- Ursodeoxycholic acid (helps to move bile through your liver)
- Cholesterol-lowering medicines (reduces itching and liver inflammation)
- Liver transplant
- Obeticholic acid (improves liver function)
The typical expected lifespan for a person with PBC after they start displaying symptoms is ten years if they do not receive a liver transplant. Although there is no cure, you will be able to get the care necessary to gain an improved standard of life. Our gastrointestinal doctors are ready to walk you through the treatment choices available to you.
Find care for primary biliary cholangitis
If you or a member of your family may be experiencing the signs or symptoms of primary biliary cholangitis, please know that individualized assistance is within reach. The digestive health doctors at Gastroenterology Associates of Florida are proud to provide intervention choices to allow you to manage your liver condition and obtain better health and well-being. If you'd like to talk to a gastroenterologist who offers therapy for primary biliary cholangitis in Florida, we encourage you to reach out to us today.
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