Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) in New Orleans, LA

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Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), once referred to as primary biliary cirrhosis, is an uncommon chronic liver condition. Primary biliary cholangitis is a progressive autoimmune disorder that steadily damages the bile ducts (called the intrahepatic bile ducts) in the liver. Bile helps in breaking down fats and eliminates fat, waste, and bilirubin. This condition can also lead to severe problems in the liver. When the bile ducts become harmed or dysfunctional, this allows bile to increase in your liver and cause scarring. When the liver gets too injured, it may cause cirrhosis.

If you want to learn more about this disease or to get care for primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) in New Orleans, LA, we encourage you to request a consultation with our gastroenterologists. Our Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates specialists are ready to render customized care for patients throughout the community.

PBC is an autoimmune condition. What this means is that the immune system mistakenly harms normal tissues and cells. The inflammation of the liver is caused when white blood cells, called T cells (T lymphocytes), start to collect and destroy normal cells in the liver. Inflammation in the bile ducts advances to other parts of the liver, harming those cells and leaving scar tissue. As the liver scars more and more, it starts to work incorrectly, causing cirrhosis of the liver. It is uncertain what leads these T cells to attack other cell tissue, although it appears to be genetic.

Risk factors

Several of the risk variables related to having PBC are:

  • Genetics (individuals are at an elevated risk of PBC if a family member has gotten it)
  • Specific infections
  • Being a female
  • Age 30 – 60 years
  • Smoking and exposure to other harmful substances
  • Geographic location (Primary biliary cholangitis is most widespread in northern Europe and North America)

Typically, symptoms of PBC will not show up until 5 – 20 years after detection. The diagnosis of PBC commonly occurs while testing for different disorders. The beginning signs of PBC are tiredness, dry mouth and eyes, and itching of the skin.

Other common symptoms of PBC include:

  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Loose and greasy stools
  • Brittle bones
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Painful joints
  • Dark-colored skin not caused by sun exposure
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles
  • Muscle pain
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen

It is essential to find primary biliary cholangitis as early as possible. If you suspect you might be in danger of having PBC due to genetic history or are experiencing one or more of the listed indicators, our New Orleans, LA gastroenterologists can offer support.

Presently, there is no cure for PBC. Therapy works by slowing the advancement of the disease and treating the complications. A number of the frequent therapy recommendations are:

  • Receiving a donor liver
  • Cholesterol-lowering medicines (reduce liver inflammation and itching)
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid (works to flush bile through your liver)
  • Obeticholic acid (helps liver health)
  • Physical fitness
  • Vitamins

The standard expected lifespan of a person with PBC after they start showing signs is ten years if they do not receive a healthy liver from a donor. Although there is no remedy, individuals can undergo the therapy necessary to gain improved well-being. Our GI providers can walk you through the treatment choices accessible to you.

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If you or a loved one may be suffering from the signs or symptoms of primary biliary cholangitis, we want you to be aware that personalized support is accessible. The gastrointestinal specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates are proud to offer therapy choices to allow you to manage your liver issue and acquire improved health and quality of life. If you want to talk to a provider who offers treatment for primary biliary cholangitis in New Orleans, LA, don't hesitate to reach out to us today.

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