Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) in Hattiesburg, MS
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What is PBC (primary biliary cholangitis)?
Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), previously called primary biliary cirrhosis, is an uncommon chronic liver disease. Primary biliary cholangitis is an ongoing autoimmune disease that steadily harms the bile ducts (called the intrahepatic bile ducts) within your liver. Bile helps with digesting fats and flushes out bad cholesterol, waste, and worn-out red blood cells. This problem may also cause severe issues in your liver. When the bile ducts become injured or destroyed, then bile can build up in your liver and create scarring. When the liver becomes too damaged, it might cause cirrhosis of the liver.
If you would like to learn more information regarding this problem or to receive treatment for primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) in Hattiesburg, MS don't hesitate to request a consultation at a location near you. Our Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC providers are happy to offer customized treatments for individuals throughout the area.
What causes PBC?
PBC is an immune system disorder. This means that the immune system incorrectly fights off healthy tissues and cells. Inflammation of the liver occurs if white blood cells, referred to as T cells (T lymphocytes), begin to collect and harm healthy cells within the liver. Inflammation in the small ducts progresses to other parts of the liver, destroying these cells and causing the presence of scars. As your liver scarring increases, it begins to work ineffectively, leading to cirrhosis. It is not clear what causes these T cells to attack normal cells, but it appears to be genetic.
Some of the risks related to having PBC are:
- Being 30 – 60 years old
- Genetics (you are at an increased risk of this condition if a relative has experienced it)
- Geography (primary biliary cholangitis is more prevalent in North America and northern Europe)
- Some infections
- Being a woman
- Tobacco and additional toxic chemicals
To hear more information about PBC and how it affects the body, talk to a gastrointestinal specialist at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC today.
What are the symptoms of PBC?
Often, signs of PBC do not appear until 5 – 20 years following detection. The diagnosis of PBC commonly occurs while testing for other issues. The early symptoms of PBC are fatigue, dry mouth and eyes, and itching of the skin.
Other common signs of PBC include:
- Dark and greasy bowel movements
- Muscle soreness
- Brittle bones
- Swollen feet and ankles
- High levels of cholesterol
- Joint pain
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
- Pain in the upper right abdomen
- Dark-colored skin not caused by sun rays
It is imperative to detect primary biliary cholangitis as early as possible. If you feel you could be in danger of having PBC due to family history, or a combination of the listed indicators, our Hattiesburg, MS GI specialists can provide a solution.
What are the treatments for PBC?
There is currently no cure for PBC. Treatment focuses on delaying the advancement of the condition and treating the symptoms. Some of the common treatment options involve:
- Liver transplant
- Obeticholic acid (promotes liver function)
- Cholesterol-lowering medicines (reduce itching and liver inflammation)
- Vitamin supplements
- Ursodeoxycholic acid (helps move bile through your liver)
The normal expected lifespan of someone with PBC after they start displaying issues is ten years unless they receive a healthy liver from a donor. Although there is no cure, individuals can receive the intervention necessary to live a better life. Our gastrointestinal providers can show you the treatment options available to you.
Obtain care for primary biliary cholangitis
When you or a member of your family could be experiencing the symptoms or signs of PBC, please know that personalized assistance is available. The gastrointestinal providers at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC are happy to offer treatment options to help you manage your liver disease and acquire better vitality and quality of life. To consult with a provider who offers treatment for primary biliary cholangitis in Hattiesburg, MS, please contact us today.
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