Primary biliary cholangitis is a chronic disease that affects the liver’s ability to function properly. It is caused by inflammation and damage to the bile ducts, which are small tubes in the liver that carry bile, a substance needed to digest food. As the damage progresses, it can lead to scarring in the liver (cirrhosis), making it difficult for the liver to work correctly. PBC is a progressive disease that worsens over time and can lead to liver failure and death if left untreated.
Although both men and women can develop PBC, it predominantly affects women. The disease is classified as an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues. Scientists believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors contribute to triggering the disease, which typically develops slowly.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for PBC. However, medication can help slow the damage to the liver, particularly if treatment begins early. It is essential to diagnose and treat PBC promptly to manage symptoms and prevent further liver damage. [Text Wrapping Break]
A majority of individuals with primary biliary cholangitis are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis, and the disease may only be detected during routine blood tests. However, symptoms may gradually appear over the next 5 to 20 years. Patients who exhibit symptoms at the time of diagnosis tend to experience worse outcomes.[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]As the condition worsens, individuals may initially exhibit signs such as:
As PBC progresses, patient may experience further symptoms such as:
The exact cause of primary biliary cholangitis is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Primary biliary cholangitis involves inflammation in the liver, which is caused by the accumulation of a type of white blood cells called T cells. Although T cells usually defend the body against harmful germs, in this condition, they mistakenly attack the healthy cells lining the small bile ducts in the liver, resulting in their destruction.
As the inflammation in the small bile ducts spreads, it damages other liver cells. With the death of these cells, scar tissue (fibrosis) forms, which can lead to the development of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a condition that involves the scarring of liver tissue, making it difficult for the liver to function properly.
The following factors may have an impact on your likelihood of developing primary biliary cholangitis:
Researchers believe that primary biliary cholangitis is brought on by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. These environmental elements could consist of:
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